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Scholastic finalises $182m deal to acquire Canadian kids outfit 9 Story Media

9 Story-produced Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

US publishing giant Scholastic has completed its C$250m (US$182m) acquisition of Toronto-headquartered children’s content studio 9 Story Media Group.

Through the deal, which was announced in March, Scholastic is picking up 100% of the economic interest and a minority of voting rights in 9 Story from private equity firm ZMC and other shareholders.

The deal has now met all closing conditions, including approval from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Vince Commisso

Vince Commisso, who co-founded 9 Story in 2002, will continue to lead the company as president and CEO. Scholastic Entertainment, the studio and content division within the larger Scholastic entity, will continue to be led by president Iole Lucchese, who also serves as Scholastic’s board chair.

Scholastic said it will provide details on both 9 Story and Scholastic Entertainment’s historical financial results and outlook when it reports its year-end results next month. Then, starting in its next fiscal year, Scholastic will consolidate both of the businesses’ financial results into a new reporting segment.

According to information supplied in March, 9 Story’s revenue in fiscal 2023 was US$104m, with 40% of that coming from what it called “creative service production,” 39% from production of original IP, 19% from distribution and 3% from consumer products.

The companies previously collaborated on projects including Clifford the Big Red Dog (PBS Kids, Prime Video) and Eva the Owlet (Apple TV+).

Assets within the 9 Story portfolio include animation studio Brown Bag Films and its international distribution division 9 Story Distribution International, which represents more than 5,000 half-hour episodes of 2D and 3D programming. Key shows produced by 9 Story include Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Karma’s World, A Kind of Spark and Super Why.

“Building upon the strong foundation we’ve developed with the 9 Story team over the past 20 years, we’re excited to now participate in the full IP life cycle by combining Scholastic’s ability to create IP that kids love with 9 Story’s best-in-class ability to produce, distribute and license it,” said Lucchese.

“In today’s world, it’s ever more important that we meet kids where they are and we look forward to expanding our work with our colleagues to bring kids back to our iconic brands and stories.”

Commisso added: “Together we will continue to deliver high-quality, engaging content for kids and families, while significantly expanding our joint ability to build franchises on a global scale.”

Scholastic president and CEO Peter Warwick said: “Together, we can leverage our combined scale to grow Scholastic’s children’s franchises, drive book sales and create new opportunities to introduce millions of children to our stories. I’m confident that our shared mission and collective expertise will spark innovation and creativity across the entire IP life cycle, supporting our 360-degree content creation strategy and our opportunity to meet the strong demand for high-quality kids and family entertainment.”

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