COOKIE JAR ENTERTAINMENT EXPANDS BRAND PORTFOLIO, TALENT AND GLOBAL REACH WITH CLOSING OF DIC TRANSACTION Animation library doubles to nearly 6,000 half-hours of children's entertainment featuring some of the world's most popular characters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
LOS ANGELES/TORONTO (July 23, 2008) - Cookie Jar Entertainment is pleased to announce the closing of its previously-announced merger transaction with DIC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (DIC). Effective immediately, DIC will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cookie Jar.
The transaction propels Cookie Jar into one of the world's largest independent children's entertainment and education companies with ownership and licensing rights to some of the world's most recognizable character brands, an exceptional animation library totaling nearly 6,000 half-hours of family programming and strong capabilities in global merchandising and licensing. Through DIC, Cookie Jar also owns a one-third interest in KidsCo, an international children's television channel that currently has five million subscribers and is held in partnership with NBC-Universal and Corus Entertainment.
"Cookie Jar is built on a solid foundation of great characters, talented people and the highest standards in kids' entertainment and education," stated Cookie Jar's CEO Michael Hirsh. "This transaction is an important milestone in our growth strategy and we continue to be receptive to deals that meet our criteria for excellence."
"DIC expands our merchandising and licensing capabilities, adds valuable relationships with consumer brands such as McDonald's, General Mills and Wal-Mart, and deepens our network in the global children's entertainment industry," said Cookie Jar President and COO Toper Taylor. "Michael and I look forward to working with Andy Heyward who will focus on new strategic opportunities for Cookie Jar and build on his relationships in the industry. We are going to move quickly to integrate DIC's existing operations into Cookie Jar's ongoing businesses and platforms."
Andy Heyward has entered into a long-term employment agreement with Cookie Jar. Heyward added: "I am very pleased to be joining Cookie Jar, a profitable and well-capitalized company led by two of our industry's most successful executives. This merger is an exciting development for the future of children's entertainment worldwide."
About Cookie Jar Group The Cookie Jar Group is a Canadian-based, privately-held entertainment and education company focused on providing compelling programming and materials for children from infancy to twelve years of age. Cookie Jar's private equity sponsors are Birch Hill Equity Partners and OMERS Capital Partners, and the management team is led by CEO Michael Hirsh, President and COO Toper Taylor, and CFO Scott McCaw.
Cookie Jar Entertainment Inc. and DIC Entertainment Holdings, Inc., the entertainment arms of Cookie Jar, are dedicated to the development and production of quality programming that embraces the whole child, with animated and live-action series that entertain, inspire and enlighten children and family audiences worldwide. They are leading, global, independent producers, brand managers, marketers and distributors of such renowned children's properties as "The Doodlebops", "Caillou", "Hurray For Huckle!", "Johnny Test", "Magi-Nation", "Inspector Gadget", "Strawberry Shortcake", "Horseland", "Sabrina", "Madeline", "Liberty's Kids", "Sonic The Hedgehog" and "Care Bears". Through DIC, Cookie Jar is the worldwide licensor or agent for brands such as "McDonald's", "Strawberry Shortcake", "Madeline", "Mommy & Me", "The Beginner's Bible" and "Eloise".
Cookie Jar Education, Inc., the educational arm of The Cookie Jar Group, is a global children's educational company that operates through its subsidiaries Carson-Dellosa Publishing, HighReach Learning® and Rainbow Bridge Publishing™.
J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. and Centerview Partners LLC advised DIC Entertainment on the transaction.