DHX to Strengthen Presence in Family and Children’s Programming by Acquiring Family Channel and Three Disney Channels
By Bertrand Marotte for The Globe and Mail
DHX Media Ltd., the Halifax-based production and distribution company, has struck a $170-million deal to buy the Family Channel and three Disney channels from Bell Media.
The announcement sent DHX shares soaring more than 27 per cent Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The deal to buy Family, Disney XD, Disney Junior and Disney Junior in French bolsters DHX’s growing presence in family and children’s programming.
Family is the most-viewed children’s channel in Canada, with about 5.7 million subscribers.
“The acquisition of these high-quality Canadian channels represents an exciting new addition to DHX, one that complements and enhances all areas of our business and positions us for our next stage of growth,” DHX chief executive officer Michael Donovan said in a separate news release.
“The acquisition of these well positioned properties is expected to be materially accretive,” said DHX chief financial officer Dana Landry. “It will greatly expand the scale of our business, with revenue increasing by more than 70 per cent and EBITDA by more than 90 per cent for the last 12 months on a pro-forma basis.”
DHX has been active on the acquisition and deal-making front over the past several months.
In September, it bought a British company whose titles include the global hit Teletubbies.
In May, DHX became one of the first content providers to launch its own paid subscription channels on YouTube.
Other shows it owns include Inspector Gadget, Caillou and The Doodlebops.
DHX’s library of about 9,500 half-hours is one of the largest collections of children’s television shows in the Western world.
The purchase is part of Bell Media’s agreement to sell off several assets that came with the $3-billion acquisition of Astral Media Inc., in order to ease regulators’ concerns over the potential abuse of market power.
The proposed deal is subject to the approval of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the Competition Bureau.