'Degrassi' Producer Epitome Pictures Bought by DHX Media

"The Kids of Degrassi Street"

The Canadian TV franchise that gave Drake and "90210's" Shenae Grimes their start in acting has been acquired for $33 million as part of a cash and stock deal.

TORONTO – The Canadian producer of the long-running Degrassi franchise, which launched the young careers of the rapper Drake, 90210's Shenae Grimes and The L.A. Complex's Cassie Steele, has been acquired by DHX Media for $33 million Canadian ($29.9 million U.S.).

Epitome Pictures, which has produced the long-running series about the adventures of Toronto high school students since 1980, was bought as part of deal that includes $19.5 million Canadian ($17.6 million U.S.) in cash and the rest in DHX Media stock.

Halifax-based DHX Media earlier picked up the Canadian animation giant Cookie Jar Entertainment and Teletubbies owner Ragdoll as part of its expansion into the global kids TV market.

In its latest deal, the Canadian producer acquires 469 half-hours of Degrassi series, including episodes of Degrassi, Degrassi Talks, Degrassi High, Degrassi Junior High, and The Kids of Degrassi Street.

Degrassi airs on TeenNick in the U.S. and MTV in Canada and is licensed in more than 140 territories around the world.

The series has also been licensed to Amazon Prime for streaming in the U.S. market.

DHX Media also grabs another 216 half-hours of other DHX library series, including The L.A. Complex, Instant Star, Riverdale and Liberty Street.

Linda Schuyler and Stephen Stohn, co-CEOs of Epitome, will continue as executive producers of current productions.

"DHX Media's commitment to strong youth programming, combined with their expertise across all facets of traditional and digital TV, makes them ideally suited to shepherd Degrassi into the future," Schuyler and Stohn said in a joint statement Thursday.

"We are delighted that Degrassi has found a home with a Canadian firm of this pedigree, and we look forward to working with them as Degrassi continues its journey," they added.