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Alvin exec buys The Simpsons studio

Simpsons_09_V2FHistoric animation studio Film Roman, which is behind The Simpsons, has sold to Steve Waterman’s film and television production company for an undisclosed amount.

Waterman Entertainment has bought the company from Starz Media, which is part of the Starz premium cable business.

Waterman was an executive producer on films such as Alvin and the Chipmunks and Stuart Little. His company plans to finance a Film Roman push into original animation creation for TV, film and digital platforms.

Film Roman is best known for its studio for hire work on Fox’s oldest series, The Simpsons, and comic book adaptations such as Ultimate Spider-Man, which runs on Disney XD.

The company’s current development slate includes Brave Little Toaster and Mr Ed.

“Film Roman is one of the defining names in animated content,” said Waterman. “Their track record is unparalleled and their team’s passion for executing top-shelf animation is evident in every frame they’ve created.

“Once it became clear how thoroughly our companies’ assets complemented each other, this deal was almost a foregone conclusion.”

After the sale to Waterman, Dana Booton has been upped from general manager to president of production and will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations. She also oversees coproductions and development.

Company founder Phil Roman, who originally sold the company back in 1999, will return as chairman emeritus, working closely with Booton in an advisory capacity.

“With Waterman, Film Roman enters a new phase where we have the additional resources required to fully support development of projects and new IP while continuing to work with our long time clients and productions,” said Booton.

“Equally, we are delighted to welcome Phil back as our chairman emeritus and have his legend return to the studio he created. Phil hired and mentored many of our leading artists in the industry today.”

Film Roman’s sale comes as Starz looks increasingly likely to be sold to or merge with one of the US’s medium-sized media groups such as Lionsgate Entertainment, whose new board member John Malone is also on the Starz board. AMC Networks, 21st Century Fox and CBS Corp. are all thought to have shown interest.