DreamWorks Animation is leading the bidding for Classic Media, the privately-held owner of characters such as Casper the Friendly Ghost and the Lone Ranger. According to The New York Times , DreamWorks Animation has offered more than $150 million for the company, far outpacing other bids.
Founded in 2000 and based in New York City, Classic Media owns an eclectic mix of older media properties, including Where’s Waldo, Lassie and He-Man. It also owns Big Idea Entertainment, the producer of the VeggieTales series of Christian animated home videos. The company has been sold a number of times, including to private equity firms.
While Classic Media has a number of prominent characters in its portfolio, the company does not control all of the rights associated with those properties. For example, Walt Disney Studios is producing a $225 million big-screen remake of The Lone Ranger, set for release next year and starring Johnny Depp as Tonto.