Corus Entertainment Inc. has announced the acquisition of Nelvana Limited in a cash and stock deal worth CA$554 million (US$372.5 million). Corus will pay 60% of the $554 million in cash and the rest in Corus Class B non-voting shares. "The opportunity to acquire an outstanding Canadian content company with exceptional international credentials presents itself very rarely," said John Cassaday, president and CEO of Corus. "Nelvanas focus childrens entertainment is completely in line with Corus strategy, and the quality and consumer recognition of Nelvanas characters and brands is unparalleled. The new revenue opportunities we can create together through vertical integration and the leverage of content and cross promotion on multiple platforms will strengthen Corus position as one of Canadas leading entertainment and media companies. We believe this is an excellent transaction for the Corus shareholder group." As part of the deal, Michael Hirsh and Patrick Loubert have signed multi-year employment contracts to stay on as co-CEOs of Nelvana. In addition, Clive Smith will remain as senior executive VP. "Corus is pleased to gain the expertise of Michael Hirsh, Patrick Loubert and Clive Smith as they join our growing team," said Heather Shaw, Corus executive chair. "The three visionaries founded Nelvana in 1971 and have built it into a world-class animation company with first-class content and production assets." Hirsh said, "In joining forces with Corus, Nelvana has cemented a strategic alliance with one of Canadas most important and successful channel owners and access to greater capital to build the worlds premiere independent childrens entertainment company. In response to the global trend towards the convergence of content and distribution, we are confident this significant potential will be realized within Corus. We believe this deal is terrific for all Nelvana shareholders and employees." Corus is one of Canadas leaders in media, holding 49 radio stations from their recent acquisition of Metromedia Broadcasting, specialty TV networks, Pay TV and conventional TV assets. With the purchase of Nelvana, Corus becomes the leading childrens publisher with Kids Can Press and Klutz Publishing and gains 20% in the Canadian television cartoon network, Teletoon. Predominately however, Corus gains Nelvanas extensive cartoon portfolio, which includes ROLIE POLIE OLIE, FRANKLIN, LITTLE BEAR, BABAR and PIPPI LONGSTOCKING.