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DHX Media acquires Wildbrain

Canadian TV unit nabs 'Yo Gabba Gabba' company

Canada-based DHX Media has acquired Wildbrain, the company behind preschool phenomenon “Yo Gabba Gabba.”

As part of the $8 million deal, Wildbrain topper Mike Polis will remain with the new entity and serve as president of Wildbrain, now a division of DHX, as well as exec VP of branded entertainment and consumer products for DHX.

“It’s great news for us and DHX,” Polis told Daily Variety. “There’s not a lot of overlap between the two companies. We’ve got a healthy consumer products group here and they don’t, and we don’t have an international distribution arm, and they do.”

The Wildbrain acquisition gives DHX an entry into Hollywood, and will also allow DHX to tap into Wildbrain’s tight relationships in the U.S. animation community.

Besides “Gabba,” Wildbrain is also a producer on HBO’s animated “The Ricky Gervais Show,” which recently secured a second season order. It also has a deal in place with Canada-based producer Fuel Industries to develop TV and film products based on properties such as AllGirlArcade.com.

Beyond the $8 million in cash, the deal with DHX also includes further consideration based on the future performance over the next three years of “Yo Gabba Gabba,” which has become a marketing success story in addition to the Nickelodeon series. “Gabba” has also launched a successful touring business, as its “Yo Gabba Gabba! Live: There’s a Party in My City!” live touring show launched a new 60-city North American tour at the end of last month.

“In addition to gaining a new hit US property in Yo Gabba Gabba! and its live show, DHX Media will also benefit from an LA-based studio with a strong creative and marketing track

record and excellent US broadcaster relationships,” said DHX Media chairman/CEO Michael Donovan. “Mike Polis and his team have a first-rate reputation and this collaboration will further advance our goal of creating and leveraging a library of hit kids and family entertainment brands.”

Polis said he’ll now look to also exploit some of DHX’s properties in the consumer products arena, including “Animal Mechanicals” (which launches this fall on new Discovery/Hasbro net The Hub) and “Kid vs. Kat.”

According to DHX, Wildbrain had unaudited revenue and net income of $6.9 million and $1.4 million, respectively, for the first six months of 2010, on assets of $12.8 million.

Wildbrain’s sister toy and apparel company, Kidrobot, is not included in the transaction and will continue to operate independently.

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