DreamWorks Animation Agrees to Acquire Classic Media

DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc., has entered into an agreement to acquire Classic Media, owner of an extensive portfolio featuring many of the best-known and most-enduring franchises in family entertainment, for $155 million in cash from Boomerang Media Holdings I LLC, a portfolio company of Chicago-based private equity firm GTCR.

With well-established titles such as Casper the Friendly Ghost, Where’s Waldo?, Lassie, The Lone Ranger, George of the Jungle, and Rocky & Bullwinkle, Classic Media’s properties have been a fixture in mainstream entertainment for decades.

Classic Media has approximately 80 employees and is headquartered in New York City, with offices in the UK and a division, Big Idea Entertainment, in Nashville, Tenn.

For the 12 months ending February 29, Classic Media earned net revenue of $82.2 million and operating profit of $19.2 million.

The acquisition of Classic Media will be financed through a combination of cash and borrowings under DreamWorks Animation’s revolving credit facility. The purchase price of $155 million includes amounts required to retire indebtedness.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. DreamWorks Animation expects that the transaction will be completed during the quarter ending September 30.

This post was originally written by Loren  Moreno and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Classic Media Signs Deals Across Central and Eastern Europe

Classic Media has signed a raft of new deals across Central and Eastern Europe for several of its titles. Preschool series Tinga Tinga Tales and Guess with Jess have both been acquired in Hungary (MTVA) and Russia (Channel One Russia’s children’s channel, Karusel). Postman Pat now has complete coverage across all major markets in the region, in addition to launches with Czech TV (Czech Republic) and Orlando

Kids (Ex-Yugoslavia). Nan and Lili and Little Red Tractor have both been acquired by Voxell across CIS. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra: Princess of Power, and Voltron: Defenders of the Universe will air in Russia as part of 2×2 Channel’s retro slot. The channel has also acquired the CBBC’s comedy shorts, OOglies.

This post was originally written by Elizabeth A. Reid and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

MGM to Bring Classic Media’s Waldo to the Big Screen

MGM has secured feature film rights to Classic Media’s Where’s Waldo property. The studio will bring Waldo to the big screen in a live-action family adventure. Created by Martin Handford and first published in 1987, more than 55 million Where’s Waldo? books have been sold, and the titles have been translated into more than 30 languages.

MGM’s Cassidy Lange, vice president of production, will oversee the project for the studio. Handford’s business partner, Mike Gornall, and Classic Media’s co-CEO, Eric Ellenbogen, will serve as executive producers.

This post was originally written by Elizabeth A. Reid and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Classic Media Celebrates Masters of the Universe Anniversary

In celebration of the upcoming 30th anniversary of Masters of the Universe, Classic Media and Mattel are launching a consumer products program for the franchise. The Masters of the Universe Classics toy line, featuring updated sculpts of vintage Mattel toys, will continue throughout next year, exclusively on Mattycollector.com. The 2012 annual subscription will go on sale the week of San Diego Comic-Con, starting July 22.

The program will also include Halloween costumes and accessories from Disguise, launching first with Skeletor, He-Man, and She-Ra adult costumes, available this fall through a leading online e-tailer. Other new products include a 30th anniversary apparel line from Changes and a special 30th anniversary edition DVD box set from Mill Creek Entertainment (fall 2012). Publishing partners will be announced shortly.

Additionally, Classic Media is introducing a brand-new comprehensive Masters of the Universe style guide this summer, featuring retro artwork, all-new modern artist renderings, as well as a special 30th anniversary logo (above).

Voltron: A Colossal Blast from the Past

The 80s are back. On August 16, Classic Media, in collaboration with World Events Productions (WEP), will release the DVD Voltron: The Legend Begins, containing all original seven episodes of the classic 80s animated series, Voltron: Defender of the Universe. This release is just in time to develop a fan base for the debut of Voltron Force, which will debut on Nicktoons later this year.

Voltron: The Legend Begins follows a team of space explorers who try to find keys to unlock five mythical robot lions on the plant of Arus in order to defeat the giant Robeast monsters, created by an evil witch Haggar, who are destroying the planet. If the team finds all the lions, they will combine together to form the robot Voltron: Defender of the Universe, who is the only hope in defeating Haggar and King Zarkon.

The 180-minute DVD also contains plenty of bonus features that takes a look into what made the original series so successful.

Classic Media Partners with Luken Communications to Launch TV Network

Luken Communications, owner and operator of television broadcast stations in the U.S., including the Retro TV Network (RTV) and Tuff TV, has teamed up with Classic Media to create an all-new network, PBJ. PBJ will bring iconic characters and shows from the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s to retro television lovers and pop culture fans nationwide, 24 hours a day.

PBJ is set to launch nationwide this summer with well-known titles from Classic Media’s portfolio, including The Archie’s, Mr. Magoo, The Lone Ranger, Gumby, Fat Albert and The Cosby Kids, and more. Luken will make PBJ available to broadcasters, cable, and satellite.

Casper’s Scare School Added to KiZoic’s Titles

Ape Entertainment is adding Classic Media’s Casper’s Scare School property to its KiZoic line of young reader titles. Based on the film Casper’s Scare School, which was released in 2006, and the subsequent television series that premiered in 2009, the series follows Casper who is in Scare School to get in touch with his spooky side—or else.

The Casper’s Scare School book series, published by Ape Entertainment, will be in stores this October.

For more information on Ape Entertainment, visit www.ape-entertainment.com.

Voltron Video Games, Series, and Toys

Voltron is returning to defend the universe with new video games from THQ, Inc. and a new CGI-animated series.

Under a new agreement between THQ and World Events Productions (WEP), represented by Classic Media, THQ will produce video games based on the Voltron franchise. The video games will join a previously announced toy line that will be produced under a separate agreement between WEP and Mattel.

The Voltron video games from THQ, anticipated to debut this fall, following the premiere of the animated Voltron Force series in the U.S. on Nicktoons, will build on the adventure of the 1984 series, Voltron: Defender of the Universe.

Tinga Tinga Tales Premieres in U.S., New Licensees Announced

Classic Media has announced new licenses for newly premiered television series Tinga Tinga Tales, including Ravensburger for puzzles, Pressman Toy Corporation for games, and University Games for Colorforms activity products. The new licensees will join master toy partner Bandai and master publishing partner Grosset & Dunlap.

Tinga Tinga Tales is an animated preschool series about how animals came to be. Inspired by traditional animal folktales from Africa and the colorful Tingatinga art style of Tanzania, the series is created by producer Claudia Lloyd (Charlie and Lola) and produced entirely on location in Africa by local artists.

Tinga Tinga Tales premiered on February 14 with the launch of the Disney Junior block on Disney Channel. The series, for kids ages 2-7, airs weekdays in the U.S. at 11 a.m. ET/PT. Bandai will release interactive toys based on the series in fall 2012.

Classic Media Brings Rudolph to the Post Office

Classic Media has announced a new partnership with the U.S. Postal Service. As a part of the U.S. Postal Service’s A Simpler Way to Holiday program, DVDs of the holiday special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will be available at more than 5,000 post offices nationwide. Additionally, customers that opt to ship the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer DVDs with Priority Mail will save $2 off the price of the DVD. The program will be promoted with in-store signage and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-branded boxes.