Cookie Jar Ent. has closed its previously-announced merger transaction with DIC Ent. Effective immediately, DIC will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cookie Jar.
Stockholders on Monday voted to approve the $87.6 million deal.
Cookie Jar and American Greetings also announced that all litigation involving DIC, the licensing agreement between American Greetings and DIC for STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE, and Cookie Jar's acquisition of DIC has been dismissed.
Cookie Jar will acquire from American Greetings the STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE and CARE BEARS properties for $195 million.
Since being re-introduced in 2002, STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE and the CARE BEARS have generated more than $5 billion combined in retail sales of licensed product. As part of the deal, Cookie Jar will acquire the rights to SUSHI PACK, a new property created by Studio Espinosa and co-produced by American Greetings and DIC Ent. Additionally, Cookie Jar granted American Greetings a 10-year exclusive inbound licensing agreement for social expression products on all three properties.
"When Cookie Jar was founded we wanted to become an international power in children's entertainment programming," said Cookie Jar's CEO Michael Hirsh. "We have been filling Cookie Jar with great properties such as CAILLOU, ARTHUR, JOHNNY TEST and THE DOODLEBOPS. The acquisition of DIC and now STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE and CARE BEARS makes us the fastest-growing independent player in the industry."
Josef Mandelbaum, CEO of Intellectual Property Group at American Greetings added, "STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE and CARE BEARS have been synonymous with American Greetings for more than 25 years and are beloved by all. We are very confident that Cookie Jar will be able to take these two properties to new heights. This is a great outcome for our company and shareholders that has allowed us to realize significant value from all of our past efforts in these properties."
With the sale, American Greetings Properties -- the entertainment and licensing division of American Greetings – will continue its efforts further developing the licensing, marketing and promotional programs for its other franchises. These include the greeting card sensation TWISTED WHISKERS, 1980's gross out sensation MAD BALLS, HOLLY HOBBIE, TINPO and its new preschool property MARYOKU YUMMY.
This acquisition, subject to customary closing conditions, is scheduled to close September 30, 2008.
The transaction propels Cookie Jar into one of the world's largest independent children's entertainment and education companies with ownership and licensing rights to some of the world's most recognizable character brands, an animation library totaling nearly 6,000 half-hours of family programming and strong capabilities in global merchandising and licensing. Through DIC, Cookie Jar also owns a one-third interest in KidsCo, an international children's television channel that currently has five million subscribers and is held in partnership with NBC-Universal and Corus Ent.