DHX Media looks at more expansion as it buys Nerd Corps for $57M cash and stock

DHX Media Ltd. (TSX:DHX.A, TSX:DHX.B) said Tuesday it is far from finished with acquisitions as it announced it will pay up to $57 million in cash and stock for Vancouver-based animation studio Nerd Corps Entertainment Inc.

“This is indicative of more deals that can come to us,” DHX Media chief executive Dana Landry said.

“We’re really looking for more out there. This is just the beginning.”

The Halifax-based production company and distributor has been active in the past year, most notably, acquiring the Disney-affiliated Family channel in Canada from BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE). It also bought the Epitome group of companies, which produces the Degrassi TV franchise and said it’s resurrecting the Teletubbies with 60 new episodes for BBC.

Under the deal announced Tuesday, DHX Media will pay up to $32.7 million in cash and issue nearly three million shares for Nerd Corps.

Landry said the addition will help DHX Media produce more original content for television, mobile and online media as it adds 400 employees from Nerd Corps to its already 300-employee strong workforce in Vancouver.

Nerd Corps, which focuses on programming for boys aged six to 14, is best known for its show “Slugterra,” which has been broadcast in more than 150 countries including on Disney XD in Canada and the U.S.

“The animation capacity that this gives us strengthens our position,” said Landry. “This is important in a time where content is extremely hot. All of our current studios are at capacity and we need the additional capacity and skill set.”

Nerd Corps co-founder Asaph Fipke and Nerd Corps president Ken Faier will also join DHX Media in senior positions.

Landry said the addition of Nerd Corps also gives the company more licensing opportunities for items such as toys and paraphernalia based on the shows.

The deal adds more than 200 half-hour episodes to DHX’s library of children’s programming, which represents about a third of the value of the deal.

Last month, the company inked a deal to acquire a library of 151 television series, movies and television specials including “Emily of New Moon” — based on books by the author of “Anne of Green Gables” — and the international distribution rights to “Degrassi.”

It also recently signed a co-operation agreement with the media broadcast division of China’s state broadcaster, China National Television (CNTV), to offer a new streaming service for children’s shows across multiple platforms in that country.

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