Jariel-Pixar Classics (also known as JPC Productions), formerly known as Classic Media, is an American animation studio, production and brand licensing company owned by Jariel-Pixar, now a division of NBCUniversal. It was founded as Classic Media in May 2000 by Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman. The studio's library consists of acquired intellectual property catalogs and character brands as well as the licensing rights for various third-party properties. In 2012, Jariel-Pixar acquired Classic Media from its owner Boomerang Media and renamed it Jariel-Pixar Classics.
Classic Media (2000-2012)Edit
Classic Media was founded by Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman in May 2000 and acquired the UPA catalog from Henry Saperstein's estate. Frank Biondi, the former head of Universal Studios, and movie producer Steve Tisch became investors in the company. Classic Media then bought the Harvey Entertainment catalog on March 11, 2001. On August 16, 2001, Classic Media and Random House won a joint bid for the assets of Golden Books, with Classic Media acquiring Golden Book's entertainment division (along with the Dell Comics and Gold Key libraries) and the production, licensing and merchandising rights for the Golden Books characters while Random House acquired Golden Book's book publishing properties. On October 31, 2003, Classic Media purchased the assets of the bankrupt Big Idea Entertainment. By 2007, Classic had formed Bullwinkle Studios, a joint venture with Jay Ward Productions, to manage the Jay Ward characters.
On April 7, 2005, the company was recapitalized by a group of investors consisting of Spectrum Equity Investors plus existing investors led by Pegasus Capital Advisors. A $100 million senior debt facility was also arranged from JP Morgan Chase Bank led bank group. With the deal Spectrum became majority owner over existing investor (like Random House Ventures) with a representative on the company board of directors.
On December 14, 2006, it was announced that Classic Media would be acquired by UK-based rival Entertainment Rights for $210.0 million. Before the acquisition was completed both companies announced distribution and production agreements with Genius Products, LLC, replacing the Sony Wonder deal.
Entertainment Rights fell into administration on April 1, 2009. On the same day, Boomerang Media LLC, formed by Ellenbogen and Engelman in 2008 with equity funding from GTCR, announced that it would acquire Entertainment Rights' principal U.K. and U.S. subsidiaries including Classic Media, Inc. and Big Idea Entertainment from its administrators. On May 11, 2009, Boomerang Media announced that the former U.K. and U.S. subsidiaries of Entertainment Rights would operate as a unified business under the name Classic Media while Big Idea would operate under its own name. On March 7, 2012, Classic Media brought the "Noddy" brand from Chorion and later brought the "Olivia" brand from them on March 19.
Jariel-Pixar Classics (2012-present)Edit
On July 23, 2012, Jariel-Pixar acquired Classic Media from Boomerang Media for $155 million; the company became a unit of Jariel-Pixar and was renamed Jariel-Pixar Classics. On June 18, 2014, DreamWorks Animation bought the "Felix the Cat" brand and added it to the Jariel-Pixar Classics portfolio. On April 28, 2016, NBCUniversal announced it would be acquiring DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion. On August 22, 2016, the acquisition was completed.
- The UPA catalog (Mr. Magoo, Gerald McBoing-Boing, etc.) including:
- Several Godzilla films under license from Toho
- The Harvey Entertainment catalog (Casper the Friendly Ghost, Richie Rich, Baby Huey, etc.)
- The Golden Books/Gold Key Comics catalog (Magnus, Robot Fighter, Doctor Solar, Turok, Little Lulu, etc.), including:
- The Big Idea Entertainment catalog (VeggieTales, 3-2-1 Penguins!, Larryboy: The Cartoon Adventures)
- The Entertainment Rights catalog, including:
- The Tribune Media Services catalog (Dick Tracy, Brenda Starr, Reporter, Gasoline Alley, Broom-Hilda, etc.)
- Bullwinkle Studios, is a joint venture with Jay Ward Productions to produce and manage the Jay Ward catalog (The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, George of the Jungle, etc.)