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Canadian animation studio 9 Story Media Group has acquired Irish company Brown Bag Films, producer of animated children’s series, including Doc McStuffins and The Octonauts, 9 Story announced on Tuesday.
The deal, which gives 9 Story control over Brown Bag’s operations in Dublin, Manchester and Los Angeles and its 170-strong staff, is the first for the Canadian company after getting an equity boost from Zelnick Media Capital and media entrepreneur Neil Court.
Financial terms of the Brown Bag deal were not disclosed.
Brown Bag Films will retain its brand, and company founders Cathal Gaffney and Darragh O’Connell will continue to lead the company with senior management intact. 9 Story said it plans to hire an additional 50 people as part of its strategy to expand the reach of Brown Bag content.
Since its launch in 1994, Brown Bag has become a leading producer of pre-teen series. The company is at the cutting edge in 3D animation, with two Oscar nominations (for Give Up Yer Aul Sins in 2002 and Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty in 2010) and a total of four Daytime Emmys for their series Peter Rabbit.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be joining forces with Brown Bag Films,” said Vince Commisso, president and CEO of 9 Story Media Group. “Cathal, Darragh and their team in Ireland have a well-established track record and an outstanding reputation for producing high-quality animation. This transformative transaction extends our footprint into Europe, broadens our content offering to distribution partners and audiences worldwide, combines best in class CGI and 2D and optimally positions the company for tremendous growth.”
Set up in 2002, 9 Story Media is best-known for its 2D animated series, including Peg + Cat, Wild Kratts and Numb Chucks.
“We are exceptionally proud of what we have built as an Irish company and for the next part of our journey, it makes total sense for us to join forces with 9 Story,” said O’Connell. “The combined entity will give us a larger bandwidth and bigger global reach for getting our shows into production and watched by as many children as possible. This deal allows us to concentrate on what we have always done very well — making great shows for kids.”
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