US-based animation and live-action producer-distributorIDT Entertainment is on the verge of acquiring the home video outfit Anchor BayEntertainment Group from Handleman Company after signing a definitiveagreement.

Under the termsof the deal, which is expected to close by mid-December, IDT Entertainment willgain an international video and DVD distribution foothold through Anchor Bay'sdirect-to-consumer and retail channels, as well as its 3,500-title library.

Anchor Bay wouldoperate as a subsidiary of IDT Corporation, the multi-national carrier,telephony and technology company that operates IDT Entertainment as asubsidiary.

The libraryincludes a range of children's titles like the Thomas The Tank Engine series, classic horror titles like DawnOf The Dead and Halloween, and a vast array of theatrical andleisure titles.

Anchor Bayenjoyed a 13.5% market share in the 2002 US home video and DVD market and sawits revenue increase by 64% from $1.1bn in 2001 to $1.9bn last year.

"IDT Entertainmentis now a vertically integrated company with the ability to control itsdirect-to-consumer projects from concept to delivery," IDT chief executiveofficer Jim Courter said in a statement.

"Just as IDTCorporation succeeded by providing consumers with superior global telecomproducts and services, so too will IDT Entertainment succeed by providing thepublic with the best in world class animation programming."