CHICAGO, April 1, 2009 – GTCR, one of America’s leading private equity firms, and Boomerang Media, LLC, today announced the acquisition of the principal U.K. and U.S. trading subsidiaries of Entertainment Rights, a prominent global media company with an extensive portfolio encompassing some of the world’s most popular entertainment franchises. Boomerang Media was formed in 2008 by GTCR, in partnership with industry veterans Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman, to acquire and manage intellectual property across all media.
The acquisition of the principal U.K. and U.S. trading subsidiaries of Entertainment Rights, including Entertainment Rights, Classic Media, Inc., and Big Idea, Inc., is the first major transaction for the group, who, with the backing of GTCR, plan to invest up to $200 million in equity capital to build leading franchises for iconic, branded entertainment. Entertainment Rights has a previous working relationship with Ellenbogen and Engelman, having purchased Classic Media, Inc. from the pair in 2007.
“We’re happy to be back again with our friends and former colleagues at Classic Media, Big Idea (VeggieTales) and now Entertainment Rights,” said Ellenbogen, co-CEO of Boomerang Media. “With the support of GTCR we have the opportunity to build upon what we started here nine years ago.”
“We are pleased to help Boomerang acquire a terrific worldwide platform for exploiting media content,” said GTCR Vice President Eric Sondag. “We continue to see a number of intriguing investments in this area, and our partnership with Eric and John, an exceptionally talented and proven management team, puts us in a position to pursue attractive opportunities such as this one.”
Entertainment Rights has some of the world’s leading children’s, family and pop-culture brands, including Casper the Friendly Ghost®, Postman Pat®, The Lone Ranger®, Where’s Waldo?®, VeggieTales® and Lassie®, in addition to holiday favorites such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer®, Frosty the Snowman® and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town®. The Entertainment Rights library consists of more than 3,600 hours of content distributed in more than 170 territories worldwide. The Company is in Cannes this week for MIPTV 2009 showcasing new series, including Tinga Tinga Tales™ and Guess with Jess®, the feature-length animated film Kung Fu Magoo™, and a first look at the new series, Casper’s Scare School™.
“This transaction underscores the depth of Boomerang’s leadership within the intellectual property space as it relates to children’s and family entertainment content,” added David Donnini, Principal at GTCR. “It also highlights the continued success of our investment philosophy, which is to partner with outstanding executive teams to build leading companies in targeted industries.”
Ellenbogen and Engelman have extensive experience in the entertainment industry and have worked together on prior occasions to build successful companies in the space. The two founded Classic Media, Inc. in May 2000, which they grew into one of the industry’s largest portfolios of entertainment brands, prior to selling the company to Entertainment Rights in 2007. The two also served as heads of Broadway Video Entertainment, founded by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels. Ellenbogen also acted as President and CEO of Marvel Entertainment, where he was responsible for establishing a long-term film deal with Sony Pictures for the Spiderman franchise.
GTCR’s investment in Boomerang Media will be made from GTCR Fund IX, LP, a private equity fund with $2.75 billion of committed capital.
About Boomerang Media
Based in New York, Boomerang Media is a company focused on the ownership and exploitation of entertainment copyrights and related intellectual property across all media.
Founded in 1980, GTCR Golder Rauner, LLC is a leading private equity investment firm and long-term strategic partner for outstanding management teams. The Chicago-based firm pioneered the investment strategy of identifying and partnering with exceptional executives to acquire and build companies through a combination of acquisitions and strong internal growth. GTCR currently manages more than $8 billion of equity capital invested in a wide range of companies and industries. More information about GTCR can be found at www.gtcr.com.