Cookie Jar and DIC Entertainment have entered into a definitive agreement to merge in a transaction valued at $87.6 million, which will see one of the world's largest independent children's entertainment and education companies formed.
Cookie Jar will pay about $31.5 million for all of the issue and outsanding equity in DIC as part of the deal. Once the deal is closed DIC will continue as a subsidiary of Cookie Jar, which will remain a private company.
The transaction will see the creation of a stable of proprietary and licensed brands plus an animation library with nearly 6,000 half-hours of programming.
Cookie Jar will also have access to the merchandising and licensing rights to brands such as American Greetings' Strawberry Shortcake, Mommy & Me, Inspector Gadget, Horseland and Cake.
The transaction is expected to close by autumn, subject to approval by DIC shareholders and other customary approvals.
Michael Hirsh, CEO, Cookie Jar, said: "This transaction will bring together two dynamic and successful organisations with a shared passion for excellence in children's entertainment.
"With the greater scale and resources of the combined company, we will be in a much stronger position to deliver on our promise of bringing the best entertainment and educational content to chidren and families around the world through the medium of their choice."
Toper Taylor, president and COO, DIC Entertainment, added: "The combination of Cookie Jar and DIC is exciting for kids and families, broadcaster and retailers around the world. Our combined company will be a powerhouse in children's brands, with global reach through television, DVD, online, books, music and consumer products.
"We will be a more valuabe partner for broadcasters, licensors and retailers with our expanded library, broaad market reach, and unmatched capabilities in taking a property from creation to global broadcast, licensing, retail and promotions."
Jeffrey Edell, president DIC, also said: "by merging the assets of two global media companies, we are creating the opportunity to build an industry powerhouse that provides a viable platform for furture integration of children's businesses worldwide.
"In addition to an extensive brand portfolio and broadcast real estate, DIC brings an extensive new media business strategy that will further strenghten and enhance the Cookie Jar brand."