DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. has purchased the library of Classic Media, owners of “Casper the Friendly Ghost,” “Lassie,” and other family characters and brands in a deal valued at $155 million.
The Glendale-based animation studio will use the new collection of characters in film, television, home entertainment and consumer product distribution.
Class Media properties bring a cross-generational appeal that is a characteristic of DreamWorks Animation films, said Chief Creative Officer Bill Damaschke.
“We believe their characters and brands will continue to serve as a creative magnet for the industry's top directors, producers and artists,” Damaschke said in a prepared statement.
In addition to owning the rights to “Casper” and “Lassie,” Classic Media has the media rights to titles in the Golden Books library, manages the Jay Ward Productions catalogue that includes “Rocky & Bullwinkle” and “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” and owns the highest-rated holiday specials in ““Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Santa Claus is Comin' to Town.”
Classic, headquartered in New York City, has a staff of 80 employees, an office in the United Kingdom, and division, Big Idea Entertainment, in Nashville. The company had net revenue of $82.2 million for the 12-month period ending Feb. 29, 2012.
DreamWorks Animation will finance the acquisition with cash and borrowings from a revolving credit facility.
“We expect the transaction to be accretive to our earnings in the first full year following the completion of the acquisition,” said President and CFO Lew Coleman.
Mark R. Madler