Cookie Jar plans cuts, and it's bleak for DIC

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Canadian cartoon producer Cookie Jar Entertainment is poised to cut jobs at DIC Entertainment after acquiring the U.S. global brand management company for $87.6 million.

Cookie Jar CEO Michael Hirsh on Tuesday gave few details on the pending layoffs but did say an "integration plan" will be unveiled by Aug. 26.

"We will treat everyone fairly, and we intend to keep our word," he said.

Most of the job cuts are expected to come from DIC's corporate office in Burbank, where Cookie Jar already has relocated its Los Angeles-based subsidiary.

Hirsh said the downsizing aims to reduce duplication between Cookie Jar and DIC, the latter of which has about 220 employees, including about 100 at Copyright Promotions, the European-based licensing agency DIC acquired two years ago.

Hirsh added that DIC founder Andy Heyward will remain with the company under a new contract after he returns from vacation.

Hirsh argued DIC has strengths that include a "highly talented team." But he insisted DIC employees recognize their "company was not viable in its current state."

Cookie Jar's acquisition of DIC follows the U.S. company retaining Bear Stearns to explore strategic alternatives for the U.S. company.

American Greetings originally sought to block Cookie Jar's $87.6 million acquisition of DIC. The company held the rights to Strawberry Shortcake, a DIC property, and was concerned about how the merger would affect the brand. But last month, Cookie Jar inked a $195 million deal with American Greetings to acquire the Shortcake and Care Bears properties, clearing the way for the merger.
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