DIC jobs on the block in restructure

Most cuts expected to come from Burbank office

TORONTO -- Canadian cartoon producer Cookie Jar Entertainment is poised to cut jobs at DIC Entertainment soon after it acquired 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," Hirsh 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 that 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 a holiday.

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.

After several rounds of bidding by potential suitors, DIC and its bankers in mid-May opened exclusive negotiations with Cookie Jar and its team, which included Los Angeles-based president and COO Toper Taylor and CFO Scott McCaw.

Kimberly Nordyke in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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