IDT to Buy Anchor Bay4 Dec, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner
IDT Entertainment has disclosed it is the buyer for Anchor Bay Entertainment Group, which rackjobber Handleman Co. plans to sell in a deal worth $60 million.
After the sale, Anchor Bay will become an operating unit of IDT Entertainment, a subsidiary of multinational carrier, telephone and technology company IDT Corp.
“IDT Entertainment is now a vertically integrated company with the ability to control its direct-to-consumer projects from concept to delivery,” said Jim Courter, IDT's CEO. “With the acquisition of Anchor Bay, IDT Entertainment's strategic plan moves into high gear. Just as IDT Corp. succeeded by providing consumers with superior global telecom products and services, so too will IDT Entertainment succeed by providing the public with the best in world class animation programming.”
Anchor Bay has many established long-term arrangements and access to a library of more than 3,500 owned or licensed titles.
In March, Digital Production Solutions (DPS), now a unit of IDT Entertainment, acquired rights to “Starpoint Academy” and “Char,” both Gene Roddenberry creations. “Starpoint Academy” is in production.
In May, IDT acquired a controlling interest in Film Roman Inc., the animation company known for its work on “The Simpsons,” “King of the Hill” and other broadcast television programs.
In July, IDT acquired a minority equity interest in Vanguard Animation, LLC. Under the terms of that investment, IDT won a first-look right to provide production services on future Vanguard Animation projects. IDT and Vanguard Animation also entered into a joint venture agreement to jointly develop, produce, finance and arrange distribution of computer generated animation entertainment.
Last month, IDT acquired a controlling interest in Mainframe Entertainment, a Vancouver, Canada-based entertainment company well known for producing CG animation for films, television, video games and the direct-to-consumer market.
“IDT Entertainment now has all the elements in place to build an entertainment industry powerhouse,” said Morris Berger, CEO of IDT Entertainment. "We have content we've acquired and created, a production capability to bring it to life, and now, with the acquisition of Anchor Bay, the distribution channel to deliver it to the public. The addition of Anchor Bay brings other opportunities as well. We intend to promote the titles currently in Anchor Bay's catalog, enlarge its library and use its distribution channels to enhance our merchandising efforts."
Closing of the Anchor Bay Entertainment transaction is expected to take later this month. The transaction is subject to antitrust clearance and other closing conditions.
IDT Corp/ common shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbols IDT and IDT.C.