Children’s media company Genius Brands Inernational has agreed to buy Canadian animation company WOW! Unlimited Media for $53 million. The deal is reportedly being paid for through an unknown split of cash and stock.
In a statement, Genius Brands CEO, Andy Heyward, said the merger of the two publicly traded companies will aid in the expansion and commercial growth of the children’s entertainment market.
“The acquisition of WOW! substantially accelerates the financial growth of Genius Brands, delivering on our promise to shareholders to execute meaningful and accretive acquisitions, as we seek to rapidly consolidate the marketplace and become the foremost producer, broadcaster, and consumer product licensor of high-quality children’s entertainment in the world.”
Based in Vancouver, Toronto, New York and Los Angeles, WOW! has amassed an enviable resume working with the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Sony, Hulu and Peacock. Past productions include Dexter’s Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls, Madagascar – a little wild, Castlevania, Adventure Time and FairlyOdd Parents.
From July 2020-June 2021 the company’s revenue was reported as $56.4 million with an EBITDA of $5.1 million. The company has a contracted order book for next year currently sitting at $62 million.
Heyward added on the merger, “I have known and worked with WOW! Chairman and CEO Michael Hirsh throughout my career, and there is nobody more talented, accomplished or well regarded. His track record of many hits includes the first Star Wars animated programs, Magic School Bus, Care Bears, Babar, Johnny Test, and Beetlejuice, among others.”
Through WOW’s studios in Canada, Genius is also set to transfer production from China to Vancouver and Toronto to access the numerous federal and provincial tax credits for animation production available across the nation.
Genius’ content portfolio is also layered with programming such as Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Llama Llama, starring Jennifer Garner and Shaq’s Garage, starring Shaquille O’Neal. O’Neal is also a noteworthy stakeholder in Genius Brands.
Hirsh added on the announcement: “This is a powerful partnership that brings immediate and significant value for shareholders. We bring production capacity, new IP, and a robust and profitable YouTube Network with over a billion views per month.”