Genius Brands International is on a buying spree.
Following its acquisition of WOW! Unlimited Media in October, the company behind Kartoon Channel! inked a deal to acquire a 28.6% interest in German distributor and broadcaster Your Family Entertainment AG (YFE) followed by a mandatory tender offer of the outstanding shares of YFE. The ultimate goal, subject to YFE shareholder approval, is that the company will be renamed Genius Family Entertainment AG and will begin operating its kids’ networks under Kartoon Channel! Worldwide. Dr. Stefan Piëch, CEO of YFE will join Genius Brands’ board of directors.
“We believe the strategic transaction with Germany’s YFE, added to the IP assets and earnings of Canada’s WOW! Unlimited Media will present us with additional growth opportunities in furtherance of our goal of becoming the leading provider of quality and responsible children’s entertainment in the world today, and for years to come,” says Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO, Genius Brands.
Kartoon Channel! Worldwide will be helmed by Paul Robinson, former managing director of Disney Television International and senior vice president of Disney Channel Worldwide. In his new role as managing director of Kartoon Channel! Worldwide, Robinson will oversee the international buildout and growth of the platform. Programming will be overseen by Lou Fazio, former director of Walt Disney Television Acquisitions and Programming. Genius Brands’ General Manager and Executive Vice President, Global Franchise Management Kerry Phelan — a former licensing exec at Lucasfilm, Pixar, and DreamWorks — will support the efforts.