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Rainmaker buys Frederator, EH to form WOW!

Kids-logo-460_2Fred SeibertCanada’s Rainmaker Entertainment has acquired kids companies Frederator Networks and Ezrin Hirsh Entertainment, paying a total of C$22.2 million (US$16.2 million) to create a combined company.

Once the ‘arms-length’ mergers are complete, the combined Rainmaker, Frederator and EH will become WOW! Unlimited Media. This Toronto-based firm will have a newly formed board and a reorganised capital structure that complies with Canadian broadcasting laws.

Rainmaker has entered into an agreement with Cormark Securities, which includes Canaccord Genuity Corp., which will give WOW! a net cash position of C$11 million private placement.

Nelvana and Cookie Jar Entertainment co-founder and former DHX Media executive chairman Michael Hirsh – who established EH with Bob Ezrin, Neil Chakravarti, and Christian Davin – will lead WOW! as chairman and CEO.

Frederator founder and CEO and animation veteran Fred Seibert (pictured) will be chief creative officer. His New York-based company has in four years has developed the Channel Frederator Network into a group of online channels that garner 450 million monthly views.

The Rainmaker deal values Frederator at US$17 million, while EH is valued at US$5.2 million.

EH’s Ezrin will be vice-chairman, with Chakravarti named president and COO, Bryant Pike CFO and Michael Hefferon executive becoming executive VP, while keeping his role as Rainmaker Studios president.

Hirsh and Seibert have both shareholdings in the new group, with the latter becoming the largest shareholder.

Hirsh has produced more than 6,000 hours of TV, including episodes of Inspector Gadget, Babar and Rolie Polie Olie, while Seibert is executive producer on Adventure Time and The FairlyOdd Parents, both Cartoon Network franchises that are worth more than US$100 million.

As CCO, Seibert will focus on growing the YouTube and online networks, and create content.

“Frederator’s goal of pursuing world class talent will be increased exponentially by creating WOW! Unlimited with Michael Hirsh and his team, and Rainmaker Entertainment,” he said.

“The vertical integration will facilitate discovery of new digital filmmakers, leveling them up to produce premium, global programming, while simultaneously growing digital platforms with both advertising and subscription support.”

Vancouver-based Rainmaker, which currently produces Bob the Builder for Mattel and a remake of its ReBoot series, is also getting a new board, comprising Hirsh, Ezrin, Seibert and Craig Graham, Rainmaker’s chairman and CEO.