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M&A & Investments

Discovery Communications will buy Scripps Networks Interactive for $11.9 billion early next year. The deal includes the assumption of $2.7 billion of Scripps’s net debt.

Hasbro ends talks to buy out Lions Gate Entertainment, reportedly because of price disagreements. This comes after ultimately failed negotiations to buy out DreamWorks Animation in 2014, which was ultimately acquired by Comcast. Last year, Lionsgate acquired Starz in a $4.4 billion cash-and-stock deal. Lionsgate and Hasbro are well-connected—Studio Vice Chairman Michael Burns currently sits on the toy company’s board, and the two companies work together on upcoming films My Little Pony and Monopoly. Hasbro Studios recently announced a deal to produce original series Stretch Armstrong And The Flex Fighters for Netflix. In the past, Hasbro’s Allspark Pictures produced feature films Jem And The Holograms, Ouija, and G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

WME/IMG is on track to receive a $1.1 billion investment from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board & Government and a Singaporean fund. The investment brings the licensing agency’s value up to $6.3 billion from its $5.5 billion valuation in 2016. Last year, WME/IMG received a $250 million investment from Softbank and a $55 million investment from Fidelity Management & Research. The money is expected to fund new acquisitions; the company’s most recent purchases include UFC, Professional Bull Riders, and the Miss Universe pageant.

Spin Master buys outdoor toy company Aerobie, a producer of outdoor flying disks and sports toys, for an undisclosed sum. Since filing an IPO in 2015, Spin Master has acquired seven companies including Toca Boca, Cardinal Games, Marbles, and Swimways. The Aerobie line will be managed by Swimways and join the Coop family of branded active outdoor lifestyle products. Spin Master recently reported its highest recorded revenue for Q2 2017 at $276.7 million, up 54% from the same period last year. Gross product sales grew by 52.2% to $283.2 million, driven by sales of Hatchimals, Paw Patrol, and Swimways.

Bendon teams up with Naked Brand Group to acquire FOH Online Corp., the exclusive licensee of the Frederick’s of Hollywood (owned by Authentic Brands Group) online operations. Bendon will acquire all outstanding common stock of FOH Online in exchange for forgiving of debt owed by FOH to Bendon. It will take control of FOH Online’s existing license to develop and sell intimates, sleepwear, loungewear, swimwear, accessories, and costumes under the Frederick’s of Hollywood label online. Separately, Naked Brand Group and Bendon entered into a merger agreement where both companies become wholly owned subsidiaries of Holdco, a newly formed Australian holding company.

Sony Pictures Television Networks acquires a 95% majority stake in Funimation for $143 million. The U.S. anime distributor is valued at $150 million by the deal. The deal will see Funimation’s catalog, which includes Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, and Attack on Titan, move to Sony’s Animax platform, which currently distributes in 23 countries including Japan. Funimation’s CEO Gen Fukunaga will maintain a minority state in the firm.

Sofia Vergara and Renata M. Black team up for a new subscription-based underwear service called EBY. Pricing is yet unknown, but EBY will deliver underwear on a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly basis—and also donate 10% of sales to the Seven Bar Foundation.

Level Brands, owner of Ireland Men One (I’M1), intends to file a Regulation A+ initial public offering. The licensor is supported by the kathy ireland Worldwide team and seeks to secure strategic licenses and joint venture partnerships for its brands, as well as to grow the portfolio of brands through strategic acquisitions.

Personalised book company Wonderbly gets an $8.5 million investment from the likes of Ravensburger, Google Ventures, Project A Ventures, Greycroft, The Chernin Group, and Allen & Co.

Mattel increases its spend in the digital media world with an “eight-figure” upfront advertising deal with YouTube Kids.









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