A Squared Entertainment and Genius Brands International announce merger to create a branded multi-media distribution company under the Genius Brands International banner.
Genius Brands International, Inc. and A Squared Entertainment LLC announced a merger to form an intellectual property (IP) and multimedia content creation and distribution company focused on branded “content with a purpose” for kids.
Combining the assets and experience of both companies, the two companies will be consolidated under the Genius Brands International banner. Andy Heyward, formerly CEO of DIC Entertainment and Co-President of A Squared Entertainment, will assume the role of Chairman and CEO of Genius Brands International; Amy Moynihan Heyward, formerly Co-President of A Squared Entertainment, will serve as President. Klaus Moeller, currently CEO of Genius, will become Genius Brands Vice President of Special Markets, and will continue with the company as a member of its Board of Directors.
“This merger brings together complementary media companies that are dedicated to providing entertainment that is as enriching as it is entertaining for kids,” said Mr. Heyward. “Through this merger, we are creating the first multimedia IP creation and brand management company to exclusively provide value-driven content for kids, from infancy to their pre-teen years, in multiple formats around the world.”
Effective upon the Company meeting its informational and reporting requirements with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the new Genius Brands International Board of Directors will consist of former California Governor Gray Davis; Jeff Weiss, President and COO of American Greetings Corporation Inc.; Lynne Segall, Publisher and Senior Vice President of The Hollywood Reporter; Will McDonough, Founding Partner of Atlas Merchant Capital, formerly a Partner at Goldman Sachs; and Bernard Cahill, co-founder of ROAR. Klaus Moeller, Andy Heyward, and Amy Moynihan Heyward, complete the Board of Directors.
“We have gathered an accomplished group of independent directors whose experience spans media, finance, governance, and kids entertainment to join our Board,” noted Ms. Moynihan Heyward. “Together with the existing expertise and resources within our two companies, the Board provides Genius Brands International with the talents of highly experienced individuals, knowledgeable in various diverse aspects of our business, who will help drive our growth.”
“A Squared, with its long-standing relationships throughout the international broadcast community, will be able to bring Genius Brands’ content to the global IP marketplace, on a much larger scale than we ever did before,” noted Moeller. “In turn, Genius Brands has well-established direct distribution channels for both multimedia content and consumer products in the U.S. that will enable the company to reach incremental consumers outside of the traditional broadcast and retail marketplace.”
Moeller continued, “Brands such as Stan Lee’s Mighty Seven and Warren Buffett’s Secret Millionaires Club greatly enhance the company’s portfolio and are just a few examples of the new products we will deliver.”
The Company will utilize its combined strengths to build upon its unique “content with a purpose” positioning, which goes beyond conventional notions of educational programming and helps parents and kids by making learning enriching, interactive and entertaining.
In addition to producing original content with subject matter experts, the company will develop interactive digital entertainment in all formats including broadcast, online, mobile, tablets and more. A comprehensive consumer products program will be created to extend the learning into other areas, outside of digital media, where kids play and learn.
Andy Heyward is a multi-Emmy Award-winning producer of children’s entertainment. He has produced over 5,000 episodes of award-winning children’s programs, most of which are household names, including The Real Ghostbusters, Inspector Gadget, Alvin and the Chipmunks, G.I. Joe, Hello Kitty’s Furry Tale Theatre, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Super Mario Bros Super Show, Sabrina the Animated Series, Captain Planet, Liberty’s Kids, Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego, Madeline, Teddy Ruxpin, and dozens more. He ran DIC Entertainment as its CEO and founder for 25 years, selling it to Capital Cities/ABC in 1993, which eventually became a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company in 1995. In 2000, with Bain Capital LLC, Andy re-purchased DIC and took the company public the following year. In 2008, Andy sold DIC and in 2009 co-founded A Squared with his wife, Amy Moynihan Heyward.
Amy Moynihan Heyward is a brand-marketing executive who has spent more than 20 years managing, creating and launching some of the most valuable brands in the world, with a focus on kids. She was one of the original members of Disney Cruise Line, leading publicity and promotional efforts during its creation and launch. She later served as Director of Global Marketing at McDonald’s and Vice President of the Los Angeles Times. Earlier in her career, she held management positions at Universal Theme Parks and Hasbro Toys.
Source: Genius Brands International
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.