Bid puts 'Care Bears,' 'Shortcake' back in play

Cookie Jar offers $76 mil to trump MoonScoop purchase

TORONTO -- After failing to close a deal for the properties last fall, Canadian cartoon producer Cookie Jar Entertainment has made a $76 million counter bid for American Greetings' "Strawberry Shortcake" and "Care Bears" properties that it hopes will trump an offer from French animator MoonScoop Group.

In a March 30 SEC filing, American Greetings disclosed a March 24 offer in which MoonScoop proposed to pay $95 million for the "Strawberry Shortcake" and "Care Bears" properties and related rights held by Toronto-based Cookie Jar. Under that deal, American Greetings would pocket $76 million for the animation assets while Cookie Jar would get $19 million for its own rights to the lucrative properties.

But in line with a prior agreement with American Greetings, Cookie Jar on March 30 made a $76 million counter offer, according to the SEC filing.

When Cookie Jar failed to close an earlier takeover deal for the two properties last fall, American Greetings became free to seek additional bids, but Cookie Jar retained a March 30 deadline in which it could make a counter bid.

The Canadian company now has until April 30 to raise acquisition financing and complete a deal with American Greetings. Should Cookie Jar fail to close, MoonScoop has until June 7 to complete its own takeover deal.

Cookie Jar offered no comment on the latest turns in the American Greetings takeover deal. American Greetings was not available for comment at press time.