Toronto, Canada-based 9 Story Media Group has acquired Ireland’s Brown Bag Films, the producer of animated children’s series Doc McStuffins and Octonauts. It’s the first acquisition for the formerly known 9 Story Entertainment, following last year’s equity investment from Neil Court and Zelnick Media Capital. Terms of the acquisition, completed yesterday, were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Dublin with offices in Los Angeles and Manchester, Brown Bag Films also produces Bing Bunny and Henry Hugglemonster, giving it four of the top ten pre-school television programs in America, according to 9 Story’s press release. Led by co-founders Cathal Gaffney and Darragh O’Connell, the studio plans to hire 50 more employees, on top of its 170 current creative and production staff.

“Cathal, Darragh and their team in Ireland have a well established track record and an outstanding reputation for producing high quality animation,” said Vince Commisso, 9 Story president and CEO. “This transformative transaction extends our footprint into Europe, broadens our content offering to distribution partners and audiences worldwide, combines best in class CGI and 2D, and optimally positions the company for tremendous growth.”

Brown Bag has earned a solid reputation over the years, not just through the popularity of its shows, but through plentiful industry recognitions, including a Peabody for Doc McStuffins, three Emmys for Peter Rabbit, and Oscar nominations for the shorts Give Up Yer Aul Sins and Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty (watch below).

Canada’s 9 Story Media Group has created or distributed programs like Peg + Cat, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Wild Kratts, and Arthur since its founding in 2002. Last October, the company, which employs over 250 creative and production staff, rebranded itself as 9 Story Media Group after media entrepreneur Neil Court became an equity investor.

“We are exceptionally proud of what we have built as an Irish company and for the next part of our journey, it makes total sense for us to join forces,” said Darragh O’Connell. “The combined entity will give us a larger bandwidth and bigger global reach for getting our shows into production and watched by as many children as possible.”

“Since 1994, Brown Bag Films has evolved every few years into a different business model, always with the same determination to be the best at animation,” Brown Bag elaborated in its own online statement. “When we started out, we just wanted to make great animation and for as many people as possible to enjoy our work. After twenty one years, we have grown as much as we can without getting outside help to take Brown Bag Films to the next level…We will still be Brown Bag Films, Cathal and Darragh will still continue to lead the company.”

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