Genius Brands International entered into an agreement to acquire Canada’s WOW! Unlimited Media in a deal that includes $53 million in cash and stock.
WOW! has facilities in Toronto, Vancouver, New York, and Los Angeles that it uses to produce animation for companies including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sony, Hulu, Dreamworks, Moonbug, Peacock, and Mattel, among others. WOW! owns Frederator Studios (Adventure Time, FairlyOdd Parents, Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, Castlevania) and Mainframe Studios (Madagascar – a Little Wild, Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse).
“The acquisition of WOW! substantially accelerates the financial growth of Genius Brands, delivering on our promise to shareholders to execute meaningful and accretive acquisitions, as we seek to rapidly consolidate the marketplace and become the foremost producer, broadcaster, and consumer product licensor of high-quality children’s entertainment in the world,” says Genius Brands Chairman and CEO Andy Heyward. “I have known and worked with WOW! Chairman and CEO Michael Hirsh throughout my career, and there is nobody more talented, accomplished, or well regarded. His track record of many hits includes the first Star Wars animated programs, Magic School Bus, Care Bears, Babar, Johnny Test, and Beetlejuice, among others.”
Genius Brands plans to tap into WOW!’s extensive presence on YouTube, TikTok, and Giphy to expand its reach into the teen and young adult markets. Additionally, the company says that it will leverage WOW!’s Canadian studios to take advantage of federal and provincial tax credits that will allow it to move production out of China.
WOW!’s Michael Hirsh will join the Genius Brands’ board of directors while continuing his responsibilities at Mainframe, Frederator Studios, and WOW! networks and platforms.