DHX Media to Acquire Peanuts, Strawberry Shortcake
DHX Media has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the entertainment division of Iconix Brand Group, Inc., which includes both an 80-percent controlling interest in Peanuts and 100 percent of Strawberry Shortcake. The remaining 20-percent interest in Peanuts will continue to be held by members of the family of Charles M. Schulz. The total purchase price for this acquisition is $345 million, subject to a customary working capital adjustment, to be paid through a combination of cash on hand, new debt financing facility, and a private placement offering of subscription receipts ultimately exchangeable for convertible debentures. The transaction is expected to close on or around June 30, 2017.
“Over the past ten years, DHX Media has become a global leader in children’s entertainment content, building scale across production, distribution and consumer products and is perfectly positioned to benefit from the incredible growth of streaming services, worldwide,” says Dana Landry, CEO of DHX Media. “Peanuts and Strawberry Shortcake have widespread, evergreen appeal that make them ideal for layering onto this platform, complementing our 450-title library, and significantly increasing our scale in consumer products. These brands are expected to drive meaningful growth across multiple revenue streams, and we look forward to extending their reach to new generations of kids worldwide.”
Jean Schulz, widow of Charles M. Schulz, says, “DHX Media feels like a perfect fit for Peanuts. We respect their innovative and rich history with developing children’s shows and brands, and we look forward to working with Dana and his team to steward Peanuts in the future.”
Nelvana Names ChizComm AOR
ChizComm has been named agency of record for Nelvana, the international producer and distributor of children’s animated content, including Nelvana Enterprises, the global licensing and merchandising arm of Nelvana.
ChizComm will partner with Nelvana on its international consumer and trade public relations and marketing efforts.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with ChizComm to make a vibrant splash in the industry, and build some buzz surrounding Nelvana’s new and well-loved animated properties,” says Pam Westman, head, Nelvana Enterprises. “We look forward to the innovative and out-of-the-box thinking that they bring to everything they do.”
“We are proud to represent Nelvana and to work on their remarkable group of brands,” says Harold Chizick, president and CEO, ChizComm. “We share values when it comes to taking a collaborative and creative approach to marketing initiatives, and we are confident this partnership will lead to colorful and exciting possibilities.”
Zing Launches First Stackable Spinners
Zing jumps into the fidget toy craze with the launch of its Spinzipz, the first stackable spinners toy. Consumers can order Zing’s souped-up Spinzipz, which feature LED lights for day and night play, now at zing.store. The light-up Spinzipz will hit retail stores later this month at Amazon, Target, Toys “R” Us, and Walmart. Check out TTPM’s review of the product here.
“Since we’re a small company, we were nimble enough to ramp up production to meet the quick retail demand,” says Josh Loerzel, Zing vice-president of sales and marketing. “This is all happening organically, at lightening fast speed.”
ASTRA Unveils New Experiential ‘Toy Store’ at Marketplace & Academy
The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) announced its 2017 Marketplace & Academy will include a live, hands-on, experiential toy store—complete with product demonstrations, enthusiastic staff, and giveaways—on the exhibit hall floor.
Called the Neighborhood Toy Store Day Experience (NTSD), it will offer tools to help retailers make November 11, 2017 their best Neighborhood Toy Store Day yet. Retailers will find complimentary planning resources, hot products, and special offers from specialty-focused manufacturers—all designed to kickstart fourth quarter and holiday season sales.
“72 percent of retailers who participated in the 2016 Neighborhood Toy Store Day promotion reported that they saw an increase in sales,” says Kimberly Mosley, president of ASTRA. “The momentum starts to build now, and the more stores that participate, the greater the impact we will have in collectively communicating the specialty toy advantage. We encourage all attendees at ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy to stop by and check out the whole package of resources ASTRA is providing this year to support your store’s Neighborhood Toy Store Day event.”
ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy will be held June 25–28 in Philadelphia, Pa. Visit www.astramarketplace.org to register. The NTSD Experience is supported by Ann Williams, Blue Orange Games, Crazy Aaron’s Puttyworld, Green Toys, HABA USA, MindWare, Neat-Oh! International, Orb Toys, and Thames & Kosmos.
GI Joe Inventor, Stanley Weston, Dead, Age 84
Stanley Weston, inventor of the G.I. Joe and co-creator of Thundercats, has passed away. He was 84 years old.
Weston’s death on May 1 in Los Angeles was confirmed by his daughter.
After serving in the Army shortly after the Korean War ended, Weston went on to become a key player in the licensing and merchandising industry, even founding his own company Leisure Concepts. He was among the first to be inducted into the LIMA Hall of Fame and went on to represent clients such as Farrah Fawcett (Charlie’s Angels era), Nintendo, and the World Wrestling Federation.
But Weston is perhaps best known for creating G.I. Joe action figure. While the credit has often been given to the late Hasbro executive Don Levine, it was Weston who first presented Levine with the concept before selling it to Hasbro for just $100,000, according to the Los Angeles Times. You can read his full obit, here.