The $105m deal covers merchandise and licensing of the popular TV and film series Pleasant Goat and Big Bad Wolf.
Hong Kong’s animation studio Imagi International is set to acquire China’s Toon Express, the merchandise and licensing company of the Pleasant Goat and Big Bad Wolf cartoon and animation film series, in a $105m deal. Imagi may further pay $30m in stock shares depending on Toon Express’ profit in 2011 and 2012.
Launched in 2005 in Chinese TV stations as a cartoon series, Pleasant Goat and Big Bad Wolf became a franchise in 2009 with the animation film of the same title grossing more than $12.19m (RMB80m) — setting a record as the highest grossing local animation film. The second and third film came out in 2010 and 2011 during the Chinese New Year holidays.
With the acquisition. Imagi will now own licensing rights of all Pleasant Goat merchandise, but it will not move into production on the Pleasant Goat franchise. Toon Express’ brother company, Guandong Creative Power Entertaining (CPE) will remain in charge of production.
However, apart from the brand management income, Imagi will be able to share the profits generated from CPE’s Pleasant Goat productions, including box-office revenue.
Imagi also announced that after the deal today, Imagi will take over Toon Express’ previous deals with CPE as well as Disney. These include Disney’s license of Pleasant Goat merchandise and a distribution deal on the Disney channel. Also, CPE will now co-produce with Imagi three more Pleasant Goat movies, possibly in stereoscopic 3D.
Toon Express’s CEO Soh Szu Wei will now serve as CEO of Imagi.
Investors of the acquisition include Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s Bofanti Limited, IDG, New York-based Mousserena L.P. and China Consumer Capital Partners Ltd.