It’s official – Lassie’s got a new home.
Dreamworks Animation, the creators of Shrek, How To Tame Your Dragon , the upcoming Rise of the Guardians as well as other fantasy favorites, has acquired Classic Media for the princely sum of $155 million dollars. This gives them ownership of such iconic properties as Lassie, Casper the Friendly Ghost, about 80% of Rocky and Bullwinkle (the estate of the creators owns the rest of that one – what’s 20% of a moose, anyway?), George of the Jungle and a swarm of other familiar characters. Classic Media itself was an intellectual property holding and licensing company, and had been making acquisitions for decades. It has offices in New York, Tennessee and London, and was formed in 2000 to acquire media properties. Its portfolio includes Golden Books entertainment, United Productions of America, Harvey Entertainment, Gold Key, Big Idea Entertainment and Entertainment Rights among more than 3,600 hours of programming in its library.
If you’re starting to get the idea that Dreamworks just bought most of your childhood memories in one go, you’re getting warmer. In the deal, they also got Where’s Waldo, the animated Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus is Coming To Town. Then there’s The Lone Ranger, currently sublicensed to Disney, the rights with which they’re currently using to make the most expensive western in the history of cinema.
Exactly what Dreamworks plans to do with all this material isn’t clear, but it likely had to do with an effort to boost the company’s intrinsic value – a timely purchase seeing as Dreamwork’s stock has drifted off $19 a share since the beginning of the year, despite the success of its recent films. The purchase makes Dreamworks one of the largest holders of intellectual property in the world.
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