Vizrt Ltd. has acquired Curious Software, effective June 1, 2005. In consideration for the purchase of the shares or assets, Vizrt will pay $5,000,000 in cash to the Curious shareholders. Up to an additional $4,000,000 is to be paid in Ordinary Shares of Vizrt as an earn-out in four quarterly installments upon reaching certain milestones.
Cookie Jar Education has acquired the Kingsley and Fiesta lines of ESL (English as a second language) and SSL (Spanish as a second language) books and education materials from San Diego, California-based Kingsley Publishing, the publisher responsible for the development of the properties.
Pixar Animation Studios Inc. shares rallied to their highest-ever level on Monday, May 23, 2005, lifted by positive broker's comments about anticipated higher box office sales and expectations of a rise in the number of feature films produced.
Shares of Pixar jumped $2.29, or 4.5%, to $52.97 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq stock market. At the current price, the stock is up about 23% so far this year. In April, Pixar approved a 2-for-1 stock split.
Celebrating its 10th year as a global producer/distributor of award-winning childrens and family programming, PorchLight Ent. has signed animation veteran Mark Young to the newly created post of svp, animation production, to run its just opened new 4000-square-foot animation studio and post facilities in Sherman Oaks, California. Corporate offices will remain in west Los Angeles.
Bob and Harvey Weinsteins new Weinstein Co. will get equity investment and debt financing from Goldman, Sachs & Co. Specific terms of the transactions were not disclosed. The two firms will work closely together over the coming months to officially launch The Weinstein Co. in October 2005.
The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists have broken off talks with the videogame industry, which makes a strike likely, reports the trades. No agreement was reached on May 13, 2005 the last day the current contract extension which was one more extension than the actors said they would concede to. Even though a caucus of SAG and AFTRA must meet to decide if there will be a strike, insiders say it is curtain.
DreamWorks Animations first quarter of 2005 was not as stellar as many had hoped. Despite being on track to become one of the biggest selling home video releases of all time, SHREK 2 did not meet the company's retail sales expectations. This sales shortfall resulted in a higher level of returns than expected. As a result, DWA recorded no revenue from SHREK 2 in the quarter other than from licensing and merchandising.
DC Comics unveiled a new DC Comics company logo that will appear on comicbooks, graphic novels and, for the first time ever, on films and television series based on DC properties. The new DC logo will make its first appearance on a DC Comics cover May 25, 2005, when the company publishes DC SPECIAL: THE RETURN OF DONNA TROY #1 and will then appear on the entire DC line the following week.
IDT Ent. announced that its subsidiary Anchor Bay Ent. has closed a credit agreement with a bank group led by J.P. Morgan Chase Bank. The credit agreement provides for a $50 million, five-year, secured revolving credit facility which may be increased to up to $75 million.
Roy E. Disney and Stanley P. Gold today (May 9, 2005) filed suit in Delaware Chancery Court against The Walt Disney Co. and certain members of the board of directors alleging that they made false statements to the company's shareholders about its ceo search in order to get the shareholders to re-elect incumbent board members and block Disney and Gold from running an alternate slate of directors.
Regardless of whether or not Pixar renegotiates a distribution deal with Disney, the northern California-based animation powerhouse is poised for the future. Thanks to the stellar performance turned in by THE INCREDIBLES DVD, Pixar reported first quarter revenues this week of $161.2 million and earnings of $81.9 million, up from $53 million and $26.7 million last year.
Lions Gate Entertainment has decided not to make an offer for HIT Entertainment Plc., the producer of children's shows BOB THE BUILDER and BARNEY leaving just HIT's original suitor, equity firm Apax Partners, on behalf of the Sunshine Acquisition Ltd.
The independent directors of HIT announced they are not in discussions with any other potential suitors and it is therefore expected that the scheme will become effective on May 24, 2005, following the court hearing to sanction the scheme on May 23.
Further enhancing its internal development capabilities, Activision Inc. announced that it has acquired game developer Toys For Bob. As a result of the acquisition, Activision now has approximately 1,000 employees in its studio operations.
Japanese toy giant Bandais got game, acquiring Nippon videogame giant Namco for $1.7 billion in cash and stock, in a huge development for the gaming industry.
Bandai owns the POWER RANGERS and DIGIMON, while Namco owns the classic PAC-MAN and new hit games such as TEKKEN. The financial and trade wires are buzzing about how this combination will create Japans second-biggest maker of toys and videogames.
Chatsworth, California-based computer-animation house GigaPix Studios has opened a new 32,000-square-foot facility, according to HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The company intends to expand to 120-160 artists. Ceo Chris Blauvelt and president John Savage plan to move from shorts to independent computer-animated features.
"GigaPix is entering the market at an opportune time for the independent," Blauvelt said. "Financing for moderate-budget, well-crafted CGI features with great storytelling is readily available."
French children's book author Franck Le Calvez, who suited Disney claiming FINDING NEMO infringed on his creation orange-and-white clown fish named Pierrot, was convicted of fraud on April 20, 2005, and now must pay nearly $80,000 in damages and legal fees, according to Canada.com.
Japan's Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. are in negotiations to end the three-year next-generation DVD format war by teaming together to create one universal format, according to various publications. The move is seen as a compromise to ensure a bigger market as well as a way for both firms to share costs.
TrendWatch Inc., a leading market information company for the pro-video, visual effects, content creation and graphics markets, suggests in its 150-page report (Servers Holding the Workflow Together) that server growth will be strong this year.
Buena Vista Games Inc. (BVG) announced two major business deals to strengthen the company's internal game development capabilities and further its goals of becoming a top tier publisher of handheld and console games. The deals include the acquisition of acclaimed Salt Lake City-based videogame developer, Avalanche Software Lc. and the establishment of a start-up development studio in Vancouver, Canada, led by former Electronic Arts Canada senior development and business staff.
Autodesk Inc. announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Colorfront Ltd., the leading developer of color correction technology for film studios and digital film laboratories, for $15 million. This acquisition will bring comprehensive new expertise in film laboratory processes, digital post-production, color science, image processing and hardware platform optimization to Autodesk. The transaction is expected to close in the next 45 days, and to be neutral to Autodesks earnings in fiscal year 2006.
While leading kids programming producer/distributor HIT Entertainment appears to be in a bidding war for a takeover, its independent directors reiterated support for a $917 million bid from equity firm Apax partners and asked other suitors to file actual proposals by May 13, 2005.
MIP-TV attendees, especially German broadcasters, were speculating on MTV Networks Europe (MTVNE) recent announcement that it will launch a Nickelodeon kids' channel and website in Germany Sept. 12, 2005, as part of the company's commitment to providing high quality, complementary programming on its four channels in the market. A new cross-brand advertising sales house, Viacom Brand Solutions, has been created to market the portfolio of channels.
Adobe Systems Inc. announced it will purchase Macromedia Inc. for around $3.4 billion in stock. Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by both boards of directors, Macromedia stockholders will receive, at a fixed exchange ratio, 0.69 shares of Adobe common stock for every share of Macromedia common stock in a tax-free exchange. Based on Adobes and Macromedias closing prices on April 15, 2005, this represents a price of $41.86 per share of Macromedia common stock.
Orlando-based Raven Moon Entertainment Inc. announced today (April 18, 2005) that it is launching a new animation division targeted toward servicing and generating revenues from the entertainment, advertising and creative content producers market.
Sales for the Raven Moon Animation division will be handled by industry veterans Janice Hamlin (276-632-1772) located on the east coast and Chris Devine Dailey (310-374-1081) located in Los Angeles.
Final negotiations are coming to a final stage in the discussions between the Screen Actors Guild, AFTRA and a group of major videogame publishers, reports VARIETY. The current contract is in its second extension and the actors unions have said there will not extend it again after the Friday deadline. The current contract was hammered out with Electronic Arts and nearly 70 other companies followed its guidelines. Unlike the film and TV industry that have the Assn.