DHX signs deal to buy Degrassi franchise producer for $33 million

HALIFAX – Children’s entertainment company DHX Media Ltd. (TSX:DHX) said Thursday it has acquired the Epitome group of companies, producer of the hit Degrassi TV franchise, for $33 million in stock and cash.

In addition to the shows in the Degrassi franchise, the deal includes episodes of the L.A. Complex, Instant Star, Riverdale and Liberty Street.

The deal will see Stephen Stohn remain the president of Epitome. Stohn and Linda Schuyler will stay on as executive producers of all current productions.

The sale also includes Epitome Studios Inc., which owns a studio in Toronto.

“The Degrassi franchise has become a perennial favourite with teens around the world since its inception in 1980,” said Michael Donovan, CEO of DHX Media.

“With Degrassi’s enduring international appeal and suitability for digital broadcast, this iconic Canadian show represents a highly complementary addition to our library and is a compelling and logical expansion for DHX Media from kids into the global teen market.”

Under the agreement, DHX will pay $19.5 million in cash and 2.9 million DHX shares, which will be subject to a six month lock-up agreement.

DHX said it expects the deal to add to net earnings per share for its 2015 financial year.