WildBrain Ltd (“WildBrain” or the “Company”) (TSX: WILD), a global leader in kids’ and family entertainment, has closed its previously announced acquisition of House of Cool, one of the top pre-production companies in the global animation industry. A strategic extension of WildBrain’s focus on creative excellence, the acquisition significantly expands and enhances the Company’s pre-production capabilities for premium animated series, specials and features.
Under the agreement, WildBrain has acquired full ownership of House of Cool for consideration of $15.5 million, with $10.25 million through the issuance of 4,479,406 WildBrain shares and the remainder in cash (subject to a customary working capital adjustment). Additionally, there is a potential earn-out of up to $6 million based on collection of certain tax credits earned by House of Cool up to closing.
Bringing their deep experience and creative expertise, House of Cool executives and co-founders, Wes Lui and Ricardo Curtis, have joined the WildBrain Studios senior management team in the newly created roles of Co-General Managers of House of Cool.
Josh Scherba, President and CEO of WildBrain, said: “We’re delighted to close our acquisition of House of Cool and to officially welcome Wes, Ricardo and their talented team to WildBrain. House of Cool is recognized as one of the very best pre-production houses in the global animation industry, and this highly complementary acquisition meaningfully broadens and deepens WildBrain’s capabilities for both our own and partner productions.”
Lui and Curtis said: “We’re incredibly excited to conclude the acquisition process and to have officially joined forces with the brilliant team at WildBrain. There are great opportunities ahead, as we continue to offer our clients world-class pre-production services, while also collaborating with WildBrain on their extensive catalogue of content and the creation of exciting new IP. Our combined strengths make us a potent creative force in the animation industry.”
Toronto-based House of Cool is a highly regarded industry leader in pre-production, an essential early planning stage in the life of a feature or series during which the story is developed and creative choices are made to establish the look, feel, style and pacing of a project, creating the blueprint for the launch of full production. The House of Cool brand, which is widely recognized and respected in the animation industry, will be maintained as a distinct identity under the WildBrain banner.
From left to right: Wes Lui, Josh Scherba, Ricardo Curtis
Founded in 2004, House of Cool has worked with top studios, platforms and IP owners across the industry on some of today’s most recognizable animated features and series for kids and families as well as other demographics. They have worked on over 20 theatrical films, which have grossed over US $6.23 billion of box office receipts, providing a variety of pre-production services, including storyboarding; conceptual and visual development; character, environment and prop design; and the creation of animatic test videos. Notable past feature projects include Despicable Me for Illumination; The Angry Birds franchise for Rovio and Sony Pictures Animation; and The Peanuts Movie, Ferdinand, and the Ice Age and Rio franchises for 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios. Notable series include What if…? for Marvel Studios; Gravity Falls for Disney; and The Magician’s Elephant, Trollhunters, Maya and the Three, and Dragons: Race to the Edge for DreamWorks and Netflix.