Scholastic Entertainment Invests $186 Million in 9 Story Media Group

Scholastic Entertainment on Tuesday said it will invest $186 million in 9 Story Media Group, the production and distribution company it has worked with on “Clifford the Big Red Dog” and other animated series for PBS, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+.

The deal will see Scholastic acquire 100% of the economic interest in and a minority of voting rights in 9 Story Media, which has offices in Toronto, Dublin, New York and Bali and employs about 850 people worldwide.

Among 9 Story’s divisions in the Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated Brown Bag Films, the animation studio behind titles like “Doc McStuffins,” “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Octonauts” and “The Magic School Bus Rides Again.”

Its Dublin office houses its international distribution arm, 9 Story Distribution. It also has an in-house consumer products division, 9 Story Brands, backed by its Creative Affairs Group which develops and produces branded properties.

The deal got the OK from both companies’ boards of directors and the shareholders of 9 Story, the companies said. It is subject to regulatory approval by the the Minister of Canadian Heritage and is expected to close during the summer.

Scholastic Corporation shares slipped $1.06, or 2.7%, to $38.50 in midday trading. The stock had gained just 1% since the start of the year.

Scholastic expects to use available cash and its existing credit line to pay for the deal.

“This highly strategic combination, adding 9 Story’s industry-leading capabilities with Scholastic’s trusted brand and proven ability to create iconic children’s series and franchises, has tremendous potential to build deeper connections with young people through our stories, as the pages of our books come to life on screens and through merchandising,” said Scholastic CEO Peter Warwick in a statement.

“We are thrilled to build upon our more than 20-year relationship with 9 Story’s exceptional management team and employees, whose culture and values could not be better aligned with our own,” he said.

Vince Commisso, CEO of 9 Story, said in the statement: “We’ve been fortunate to work with Scholastic for decades, going back to my own start with the family-favorite production, ‘The Magic School Bus.’ The combination of our global studios, sales and distribution capabilities with Scholastic’s existing media business, iconic name and unique capabilities opens even more opportunities to deliver compelling stories and build impactful brands for audiences worldwide.”

“We’re eager to begin bringing together our complementary talents to enhance Scholastic’s position as a top developer, producer and distributor of kids and family content,” Commisso added.

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