Mainframe sells majority ownership

Vancouver: Mainframe Entertainment, Vancouver's groundbreaking computer animation house, is now majority owned by a New Jersey-based multinational telecommunications company.
In a $14-million deal announced Sept. 16, IDT Media, through its division called DPS Global Animation Studio Network, has acquired 56.1% of Mainframe. The transaction includes $10 million in common share equity and $4 million in convertible loans.

Vancouver: Mainframe Entertainment, Vancouver’s groundbreaking computer animation house, is now majority owned by a New Jersey-based multinational telecommunications company.

In a $14-million deal announced Sept. 16, IDT Media, through its division called DPS Global Animation Studio Network, has acquired 56.1% of Mainframe. The transaction includes $10 million in common share equity and $4 million in convertible loans.

L.A.-based Mainframe spokesperson Kristi Blicharski says the deal is not expected to create layoffs or changes in the way Mainframe operates in the near term.

IDT Media is a subsidiary of IDT Corporation, a multinational carrier, telephone and technology company. The transaction is expected to close in November, subject to debt restructuring and shareholders and regulatory approval.

Since its founding in 1993 and the creation of the breakthrough series ReBoot, Mainframe has created computer animation for Hasbro, Mattel and Sony and worked with brands including Barbie, Hot Wheels and Spider-Man. It has offices in Vancouver and Los Angeles.

‘This acquisition is a vital part of IDT Media’s long-term growth strategy,’ says Jim Courter, IDT’s CEO. ‘Mainframe Entertainment will provide DPS with additional programming, new distribution channels and increased revenue.’

Better access to Canada

‘[Mainframe] provides us with better access to the Canadian market and an international animation hub in Canada to add to our existing international network,’ says Morris Berger, president of DPS. ‘We enhance our ability to develop, produce and merchandise animated programming for distribution worldwide and we gain an experienced partner with an impressive record for putting programming on the air.’

Says Rick Mischel, Mainframe’s CEO: ‘With DPS’ innovative Global Animation Studio streamlining our production process and maximizing our productivity, we can better execute our plan of developing and exploiting the best in proprietary properties while maintaining the highest level of CGI Animation for our own properties and our clients.’

DPS is on an acquisition trend, having acquired the controlling interest in Film Roman Entertainment (whose credits include The Simpsons and King of the Hill) in May and rights to Gene Roddenberry projects including Gene Roddenberry’s Starpoint Academy and Gene Roddenberry’s Char in March.

With news of the deal, Mainframe’s Toronto-listed shares jumped up to $0.45 but closed the day up just $0.04 to $0.35 per share. Trading since then has trended down. Shares closed Sept. 19 at $0.32 compared to its year high of $0.52 and year low of $0.16.

-www.mainframe.ca