Classic Media character "Casper the Friendly Ghost" was among the titles acquired by DreamWorks Animation. (Shout! Factory / Classic Media)
DreamWorks Animation announced the all-cash deal early Monday morning.
The deal marks the first acquisition for the studio since it went public in 2004.
"Classic Media brings a large and diverse collection of characters and branded assets that is extremely complementary to DreamWorks Animation's franchise business, and we plan to leverage it across our motion picture, television, home entertainment, consumer products, digital theme park and live entertainment channels,'' DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg in a statement.
New York City-based Classic Media licenses many of its characters to studios, including the Walt Disney Co., which is making "The Lone Ranger," a big-budget live-action movie produced by Jerry Bruckheimer that will be released next year. DreamWorks also is making a movie based on the animated characters "Mr. Peabody and Sherman," due out Christmas 2013. Classic Media manages the characters in a joint venture with Jay Ward Productions.
DreamWorks was among at least six bidders for Classic Media, an $82-million-a-year company that owns more than 450 family titles, including "Frosty the Snowman," "George of the Jungle," "Rocky & Bullwinkle" and contemporary bestsellers such as "VeggieTales." Founded in 2000, the company is owned by Boomerang Media Holdings, part of the portfolio of private equity firm GTCR, which sources said had been eager to cash out its investment.
Classic Media Co-Chief Executives Eric Ellenbogen, a former CEO of Marvel Entertainment, and John Engelman will run the company, but now as a division of DreamWorks. The sale was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Sunday night.
"The Dark Knight Rises" is off to a strong start. (Warner Bros. )
The Skinny: The summer TV press tour has started. I've gone from being an obnoxious kid in a room of old reporters to an obnoxious older reporter. But I still have my hair! Monday's headlines include a recap of the box office, DreamWorks buys Classic Media, and NBC and Twitter team up to promote the Olympics.
Daily Dose: The Olympics will start this week and with the games streamed online and social media doing its part to report results before the masses have actually seen the events, how NBC does with its prime-time package of taped highlights will be very telling. Will social media build anticipation for events and drive viewers to see what they missed or will online viewing skyrocket and cannibalize the evening ratings and diminish the value of the games as a TV platform? I'm an optimist (yes, I said that with a straight face) so I am hopeful it will be the former and not the latter.
PBS could lose its funding in a Republican administration. Speaking to reporters at the Television Critics Assn. press tour here in Los Angeles on Sunday, Kerger warned that if the 15% of funds PBS gets from the government were to be removed, many of its stations would have to go off the air. More from Variety.
Gold medal for tweeting. NBC, home of the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in London, has entered into a broad marketing agreement with the social networking site Twitter. The move is also an effort to create a single home on Twitter for Olympic-related material from athletes, commentators and fans. Twitter hopes the games will give it a chance to showcase its platform to advertisers. Details on the agreement from the Wall Street Journal.
Defining Yahoo. As former Google executive Marissa Mayer prepares to become chief executive of Yahoo, one of the first things she'll need to do is figure out just what the company is about. Is it a search engine? Is it a Web portal? New York Times columnist David Carr suggests if anything, Yahoo is a news company and that it shouldn't squander the opportunity that it has.
News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch resigning from the boards of some of his newspaper units. Don't read much into it, says Murdoch watcher Andrew Neil in the Daily Beast. Neil notes that the boards had "no power and very rarely meet. They're boilerplate corporate structures masking the fact Murdoch is in complete control of his U.K. papers." Now that Murdoch is splitting News Corp. into two separate companies -- one for publishing and one for entertainment -- the need for these mostly symbolic boards will no longer exist.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Patrick Goldstein on the connection between art and tragedy.
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