The Walt Disney Co. announced that it has entered into agreements to acquire outstanding shares of pan-European kids entertainment company Jetix Europe N.V. The move will give the mouse house a 96% stake, allowing it to expand its kids and family media business in Europe. Completion of the transaction is expected to take place before the end of the year, after which time Disney plans to pick up all remaining shares.
The sale price is set at ’11 ($14.15) per share. Disney says the acquisition will position it to better serve its large and growing Jetix audience and distribution partners through improved programming, more targeted branding, more integrated management and the implementation of company-wide synergies.
‘Television continues to be a strong brand builder for Disney around the world and this investment enhances our efforts to reach kids and families,’ says Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group. ‘By achieving operating efficiencies, we will have additional opportunities to create more family-friendly programming and locally-produced content across Europe.’
Disney acquired its original interest in Jetix Europe (formerly Fox Kids Europe) when it purchased Fox Family Worldwide from News Corp. in 2001. Jetix Europe is comprised of television channels, program distribution and consumer products businesses. Its programming, geared toward kids 6-14, currently reaches a combined 137 million television households in 58 countries. Disney operates other Jetix channels and programming blocks in Latin America, India, Japan and the U.S. Toon Disney in the U.S. airs 90 hours of Jetix-branded programming each week.