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M&A & Partnerships

We break down this month’s must-know news in mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships. Contact the Editor at karina@plainlanguagemedia.com.

Direct contact information is made available through TLL’s Licensing Sourcebook Online (subscription required).

September 23, 2019 Update

To celebrate of World Cleanup Day, Bacardi and environmental non-profit Lonely Whale are upcycling plastic straws sourced from 55 bars to produce limited-edition vinyl records engraved with Major Lazer and Anitta’s single “Make it Hot.” The multi-year partnership aims to rid the world of one billion single-use plastic straws by the year 2020.

In touring news, PBS Kids is sending its Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live! tour back on the road. Beginning January 2020, the live stage show will visit over 50 U.S. cities. The production has been ongoing since 2016, generating over $12.8 million in ticket sales throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Spacetoon Event debuts Pinkfong’s Baby Shark live musical in the UAE as part of Abu Dhabi Family Week. The musical, based on the hit YouTube song, launched in South Korea and has since toured throughout Asia to over 80,000 viewers. This is the first time it will be performed in the Middle East; the musical will include special participation from the original cast based in Korea. As Pinkfong’s MENA licensing agent, Spacetoon has also announced several edutainment activities before and after the show.

This Christmas season, Gershwin Entertainment brings the Peanuts gang on stage in a live-action musical touring U.S. cities in a retelling of the classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas” animated TV special.

September 9, 2019 Update

Crunchyroll forms a strategic partnership with VIZ Media Europe Group to bring together the largest streaming service and the leading distributor and manga publisher in Europe. As part of the agreement, Crunchyroll, a subsidiary of Otter Media (a WarnerMedia company), is now a majority investor in VIZ Media Europe, with The Hitotsubashi Group (Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd.) retaining a minority stake in the company.

Both companies serve double duty as licensors, brand management, and retail development, with Viz serving all consumer product categories in EMEA and Crunchyroll managing over 100 licensees worldwide. The transaction will close as soon as conditions have been satisfied, including the receipt of required antitrust clearances.

Kilburn Media and Dr. Seuss Enterprises partner to create The Dr. Seuss Experience, an interactive touring exhibit launching in Toronto in October. Set for a five-year run, the massive 15,000 square foot experience will also head to Boston, Houston, and Seattle, among others. As the tour moves city-to-city guests can expect new additions based on different books to join the rotation. The launch will also have a special themed carousel and store where guests can buy Seuss merchandise.

September 3, 2019

It’s finally happening: the merger between CBS and Viacom will be given final form in a roughly $27 billion company named ViacomCBS. Bob Bakish will become President & CEO of the combined entity, while former CBS head Joe Ianniello will become Chairman and CEO of CBS, overseeing all CBS-branded assets.

The two media giants have made their way back together again after being separated in 2006 by owner Sumner Redstone. In the intervening years, subsequent attempts to combine the companies were foiled by squabbling boards and the scandal of former CBS chief Leslie Moonves, ousted last year amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. With 80% ownership of both companies, Shari Redstone sealed the deal.

Assets of the new company include broadcaster CBS; premium cable service Showtime; basic cable stalwarts such as Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, BET, and MTV; subscription VOD service CBS All Access; ad-supported VOD service Pluto.TV; movie studio Paramount; and publisher Simon & Schuster, among numerous other holdings.

In unexpected merger news, Hasbro agrees to aquire eOne in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $4.0 billion (£3.3 billion). The final roster of people at the combined entity has not been announced, although CEO Darren Throop is expected to stay on with several other top eOne execs.

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