British company HandMade Films has cut a deal to acquire American content provider Animation Collective for $12 million.
HandMade also has partnered with National Geographic, with both companies agreeing to combine their assets and create a new production company called HandMade Kids.
Larry Schwarz, founder of Animation Collective, and his creative team will oversee the new HandMade Kids venture, which is getting an investment of more than $5 million in working capital from HandMade.
The new company also has secured from Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, the rights to adapt her Tea With Ruby books for a TV series.
As part of the move, former MTV Networks International sales chief Debbie Back has been named president of sales for HandMade Kids, while VP of sales will be Jennifer Liang, who also comes from MTV Networks. Simon Flamank, former CEO of TV-Loonland, is chief operating officer/chief financial officer. The move follows the departure in July of National Geographic Kids president Donna Friedman Meir.
‘The proposed launch of HandMade Kids creates one of the leading independent producers of children’s content for TV,” said Patrick Meehan, executive chairman of HandMade. “Together with the Duchess of York’s children’s properties and our iconic U.S. children’s character Eloise, HandMade Kids will create the perfect environment for NGKE and Animation Collective to generate the best in quality programming.’