DHX Media snaps up ani house Studio B


TORONTO -- Canadian producer DHX Media said Tuesday that it will acquire Vancouver-based cartoon producer Studio B Prods. in a deal worth as much as CAN$20 million ($19.8 million).

Halifax-based DHX said it will pay an initial CAN$8 million ($7.9 million) to Studio B co-founders Blair Peters and Chris Bartleman. Under a complex formula, the total purchase price for Studio B is defined as 4.5 times average EBITIDA in the 2007 and 2008 financial years, up to a maximum of CAN$20 million.

In the kids programming segment, DHX Media already owns and operates rival family series producers Halifax Film and Decode Entertainment.

Privately-owned Studio B is best known for its "Kid vs. Kat," "Ricky Sprocket, Showbiz Boy!" and "Martha Speaks" for the U.S.-based WGBH channel.

Studio B also has about 400 half-hours of kids content in its library, and operates a digital and classical animation studio in Vancouver.

Michael Donovan, DHX Media chairman and CEO, said content from Studio B will be directed into his parent company's distribution pipeline and library. "This deal will leverage the strength of our distribution capabilities and will help add to our growing library of productions from which we will be able to generate recurring revenues," he said.

Studio B's Peters and Bartleman will remain with the kids producer as co-presidents under four-year employment contracts.