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Category: Business

Headline News HIT Makes US Inroads With Barney Buy

London-based HIT Entertainment hopes that the big purple dinosaur named Barney can help pave roads into the States for the company's content. HIT has announced that it will acquire Allen, Texas-based Lyrick Corp., the creators of Barney, for US$275 million. As part of the deal, Lyrick will receive $165 million in new HIT stock and $110 million in cash. HIT hopes that Barney's wide success will help bring attention to HIT animated series such as KIPPER THE DOG, ANGELINA BALLERINA and BOB THE BUILDER, which is already an overwhelming success in the U.K, and made its U.S.

Headline News Gaming Firm Spawns F/X Studio In North Carolina

North Carolina-based SouthPeak Interactive, a former SAS subsidiary that produced computer games, has spawned Alternate Route Studios, a new F/X house. Originally created to produce proprietary technology that promoted "feature film quality" gaming, SouthPeak transformed into Alternate Route after its core technology was sold off last year. Executive director Susan Ellis said, "We are aiming our sights on national spots and features. As part of a proof of concept, we pitched to produce SAS' first national campaign.

Headline News EM.TV CEO Puts Up $14M Of His Own Cash

EM.TV's CEO Thomas Haffa has announced that he will invest DM30 million (US$14 million) of his own money into the production house in an attempt to win back shareholder confidence said THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. As a result of the move on Wednesday shares in EM.TV rose 6% to 8.38 euros ($7.80). According to insiders EM.TV's bankers ordered the money as a way for the company to hold an estimated $750 million in debt at bay. In the past year, EM.TV shares have plummeted more than 90% directly attributed to extreme profit warnings and reports of fiscal mismanagement.

Headline News Kaydara Gains $5M In Venture Capital

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, February 7, 2001 at 12:00am

Kaydara Inc., a worldwide leader in real-time 3D/2D production systems for film, television, games and broadcasting, has announced that it has received an additional US$5 million in funding. The investment will support future product development and marketing strategies. Investissement Desjardins, a company known for its interest in fledgling technology companies, led this first round of investment.

Headline News Realviz Raises $9.39 Million

Realviz recently announced that it has completed a third round of financing worth 10 million euros (US$9.39 million). The money will help with the future development of the company and their products. This new fundraising will enable Realviz to finance their international expansion programme in the U.S.A., Europe and Asia, as well as to finance a new Internet solutions business unit.

Headline News Internal Pressures Urge EM.TV Away From Kirch Proposal

Internal tensions have risen at embattled German media firm EM.TV & Merchandising over whether or not to accept German mega-firm Kirch Group's proposed bail out. CEO Thomas Haffa, whose family owns 50% of EM.TV shares, has been reported to favor the Kirch deal. Rumors have suggested that he even asked supervisory board chairman, Nickolaus Becker, to step down from his post. Becker along with other members of the board favor a deal with U.S.

Headline News Animation Stock Ticker For Tuesday, February 6, 2001

AWN's stock ticker features the most prominent publicly traded companies in the world of animation. AWN, Inc. makes available certain financial information from third party information providers. AWN does not give advice in any such fields, and has not reviewed, and in no way endorses the validity of such data. This information is provided solely as a means to keep our readers informed of the market performance and trends of certain companies. AWN strongly suggests that one seek advice from a competent professional regarding any investment or financial issues.

Headline News Cinar Releases Reworked Financial Statements

On Friday, February 2, 2001, scandal plagued Cinar Corp. released their long-awaited reworked financial statements for the past four years. For the year ended November 30, 1998, the company lowered net earnings from CA$21.8 million (US$14.6 million) to $15.7 million ($10.5 million) and for the year ended November 30, 1997, $12.9 million ($8.6 million) to $6.6 million ($4.4 million). Retained earnings for the year ended November 30, 1996 were reduced from $22.4 million ($15 million) to $16.3 million ($10.9 million).

Headline News iFilm Secures $10 Million

Internet entertainment destination iFilm has secured US$10 million more in financing. The new funds will keep the Website in operation well into the next year. New investors in the dotcom were Yahoo! and cable executives Marc Nathanson and Leo Hindery. Axiom Ventures, Eastman Kodak Co., Sony Pictures Entertainment and Vulcan Ventures were the returning investors. Officials at both iFilm and Yahoo! declined to give specifics about how the investment will change the two Net firms' relationship. However, negotiations are in full swing to have iFilm utilize Yahoo!

Headline News Dark Horse & SAF Team Up For Toon Film Venture

Dark Horse Entertainment and Slovenia-based Strip Art Features (SAF) have teamed up to create a new company, Venture, which will publish graphic novels and comic books with the intent to launch them onto film and television. The first graphic novel to be produced by the firm will be BLOOD TIES by Belgian artist Hermann and writer Yves H. The story is described as a Faustian tale that journeys into a rotten big city with a junior detective from the suburbs named Sam Leighton.

Headline News DreamWorks Backs Out Of GameWorks

DreamWorks is backing out of GameWorks, a string of location-based entertainment centers, which it helped found five years ago. DreamWorks' spokeswoman Vivian Mayer said, "Our commitment was a creative input. We fulfilled our commitment." Steven Spielberg was one of the original initiators of the company and oversaw the design of many of the coin-operated arcade versions of his films, like JURASSIC PARK. GameWorks has reported that same store sales are up an average of 10% in the past six months and overall revenue is up US$10 million from last year.

Headline News Sega Ends Dreamcast

Sega Corp. has announced that it will cease production of its next-generation gaming console Dreamcast and will focus on game creation for Sony's PlayStation 2, Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's Game Boy Advance and GameCube. "It's becoming harder and harder to be profitable with a hardware platform. It's the games that matter," said Peter Moore, president of Sega's U.S. operations. Very low holiday sales are attributed to this decision. As a result, the company will cut prices on the remaining consoles from US$149 to $99.95 beginning Sunday, February 4, 2001.

Headline News Animation Stock Ticker For Tuesday, January 30, 2001

AWN's stock ticker features the most prominent publicly traded companies in the world of animation. AWN, Inc. makes available certain financial information from third party information providers. AWN does not give advice in any such fields, and has not reviewed, and in no way endorses the validity of such data. This information is provided solely as a means to keep our readers informed of the market performance and trends of certain companies. AWN strongly suggests that one seek advice from a competent professional regarding any investment or financial issues.

Headline News Disney Interested In Buying Henson From EM.TV

New reports have the Walt Disney Co. throwing its name into the hat to help bail out German producer EM.TV & Merchandising by purchasing its Jim Henson Co. EM.TV acquired the Muppet makers last February in a cash and stock transaction valued at US$680 million. However, rumors have voiced former president and CEO Brian Henson's disapproval over the deal due to the devaluation of the company's stock. In the past, when the Jim Henson Co. was privately held, Disney and the Muppet masters had signed a licensing deal with each other that brought Henson-owned characters to Disney theme parks.

Headline News Warner Animation Restructures

Warner Bros. has folded its TV Animation, Feature Animation and Classic Animation under the single Warner Bros. Animation roof. Rumors have been flying of late about massive lays off and the closing of the Classics division, however a Warner Bros. spokeswoman has told AWN that under ten employees were let go as a result of the restructuring. Warner Bros. Animation is transforming into a running production business model, instead of its overhead model of the past. The new plan will create more accountability and efficiency throughout the division.

Headline News Tom Snyder Prod. Changes Name To Soup2Nuts

Tom Snyder Productions' entertainment division has changed its name to Soup2Nuts. The firm provides writers, casting, audio, editing, post-production and animation for its various productions, which have included DR. KATZ: PROFESSIONAL THERAPIST and THE DICK AND PAULA CELEBRITY SPECIAL. Currently the company is producing the upcoming Cartoon Network series HOME MOVIES, HEY MONIE for Oxygen Network's X-CHROMOSOME series and LIVE AT THE TEACHERS' LOUNGE for PBS online (www.pbs.org). Soup2Nuts is owned by Torstar, a Toronto-based information and entertainment communications company.

Headline News Cinar's Auditors Resign

Embattled Montreal-based Cinar Corp. has announced that its self-imposed auditor, Ernst & Young, has resigned due to the company's failure to produce key information about possible fraud and other illegal acts at the animation production house. Due to the fact that the auditor will not sign off, Cinar will release unaudited versions of its reworked financial statements from 1997-1999. The company intends to release these long awaited documents to investors sometime during the week of Monday, January 29, 2001.

Headline News Disney Puts A Halt To Go.com

Walt Disney Co. has announced that it will close down the Walt Disney Internet Group and its Go.com portal. As a result, 400 out of nearly 2,000 employees will be laid off. Shares in the Walt Disney Internet Group will be converted in to Disney common stock. As a result, Disney will take a US$790 million second-quarter charge, or 37 cents per share, for the issuing of 8.1 million new shares in the entertainment mega-firm. In addition, Disney will also take a $25-$50 million charge for severance packages and other additional costs.

Headline News PlayStation.com Springs New Arm For Sony

Sony Computer Entertainment has spun off PlayStation.com as a separate arm of the mega-firm to handle the company's online game initiatives. The Foster City, California-based division will oversee Sony's e-commerce and online distribution of Sony's games, music and movies. On Tuesday, January 30, 2001, the Website will begin to sell the tough-to-obtain PlayStation 2 gaming console. There are already plans in the works to spin the division off in a public stock offering or tracking stock.

Headline News EM.TV Uncertain Over Kirch Deal

EM.TV & Merchandising's supervisory board has announced that it is still debating whether to accept or reject German media conglomerate KirchGroup's financial rescue offer. The deal would give Kirch a 25% voting share in EM.TV and half of the company's 50% stake in Formula One racing group SLEC. In addition, Kirch would buy out EM.TV's half of kids television rights group Junior TV for US$550 million in cash. However, recently another offer has come onto the table for EM.TV. Herbert Kloiber's Tele-Munchen Group and U.S.

Headline News Pukka Launches Pukka Post & Pukka Web

Pukka recently launched Pukka Group, a company that will be divided into three subsidiary companies: Pukka Films, Pukka Post and Pukka Web. The group's headquarters will be located in the new Portland Mews building (UK), which has just undergone a £1 million (US$1.47 million) refurbishment. Containing the latest in post-production equipment, Pukka will deliver integrated digital media solutions to its clients - producing, editing, packaging and distributing video, film or new media product in the corporate, broadcast and feature markets.

Headline News Icebox Lays Off Another 25%

In another move to maximize its remaining cash flow, Icebox.com has laid off 11 employees, over 25% of its staff. Currently, Icebox is in the middle of a US$10 million financing negotiation with some of its initial backers. CEO and co-founder Steve Stanford said, "It's going; it's just not going as quickly as we would have liked." In November, Icebox cut 50 staffers in their first attempt to cool down their capital burn rate [AWN 11/29/00]. Laid-off staff members were given their last paycheck, their computer and their Aeron ergonomic chair.

Headline News Cartoon Network Seeks Sound A-likes For Powerpuff Feature

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 24, 2001 at 12:00am

The actresses behind the Powerpuff Girls are in a real battle of their own and it's not with Mojo Jo Jo but Cartoon Network. The AOL Time Warner-owned animation network has put out a call for sound a-likes to imitate the Powerpuff Girls for the upcoming feature film. Apparently, Tara Strong (Bubbles), Catherine Cavadini (Blossom) and E.G. Daily (Buttercup) are in heated discussions over the financial terms they were offered.

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