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Gaiam Buys GoodTimes

12 Jul, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Budget home video supplier GoodTimes Entertainment has been sold to Gaiam Inc., which distributes chiefly health, wellness and fitness programs on DVD and VHS.

With the acquisition of New York-based GoodTimes, Gaiam, a publicly traded company based in Broomfield, Colo., expects to generate more than $200 million in annual revenue.

Gaiam, which bills itself as a “lifestyle-media company catering to people who value personal development, natural health and inspirational entertainment,” recently bowed “Scooby-Doo Fitness Products for Kids,” which includes fitness videos, yoga mats, balance balls and other equipment. Gaiam's yoga and Pilates videos have significant distribution at such big retailers as Target Stores and Borders.

GoodTimes has long been a major supplier of low-priced fitness and children's titles, primarily to grocers and discount retailers. Of the company's 2,000-plus titles, top sellers include “The Firm” and Billy Blanks' Tae Bo fitness videos as well as children's classics “Benji,” “The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

GoodTimes was elevated to prominence in the home entertainment community four years ago when Bill Sondheim became president. Sondheim had been president of PolyGram Home Video in the late 1990s, at a time when PolyGram Filmed Entertainment was aggressively breaking into theatrical with such movies as “The Game” and “What Dreams May Come,” with Robin Williams. Sondheim left GoodTimes in January and was never replaced. He now works for AGI Media, a DVD packaging company.

Gaiam claims the acquisition of GoodTimes will boost its share of the wellness/fitness DVD category to 37 percent.

The deal calls for Gaiam to acquire substantially all of GoodTimes' assets for $40 million in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities. The deal is subject to approval of federal bankruptcy court. Gaiam expects to close the transaction by the end of the third quarter.

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