DHX Media, a Canadian media production company formed in 2006 by the merger of Halifax Film Company and Decode Entertainment, is acquiring Cookie Jar Entertainment to create Canada’s largest independent children’s entertainment company. The deal will be completed in mid October subject to getting shareholder and regulatory approvals. The transaction values Cookie Jar at $111 million. More than half of it, $66 million is debt DHX will take on, with rest a combination of shares and cash.
According to the announcement, the merger brings together DHX’s kids property of Yo Gabba Gabba!, Rastamouse, Franny’s Feet, Animal Mechanicals, Kid vs. Kat, Angela Anaconda and Martha Speaks as well as Cookie Jar’s Caillou, Inspector Gadget, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, The Doodlebops and Johnny Test. For the past few years, Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears have been embroiled in litigation between previous owner American Greentings and Cookie Jar, which tried to buy it in 2008. According to a rep for DHX, Cookie Jar and American Greetings have worked out their legal issues, with American Greetings controlling the underlying rights to Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake and Cookie Jar owning some rights too. Additionally, Cookie Jar controls Cookie Jar TV, the weekend morning block on CBS.