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Children’s publishing giant Scholastic has agreed to invest $186 million in leading children’s production and distribution company 9 Story Media Group, which operates production facilities in Toronto, Dublin, and Bali. With the investment, Scholastic will acquire 100% of the economic interest in 9 Story and a minority of voting rights.

Scholastic says the deal will expand its “opportunities to leverage its trusted brand, best-selling publishing and beloved global children’s franchises across print, screens and merchandising.”

The boards of directors at both companies and 9 Story shareholders have approved the deal, which is now subject to customary closing conditions. The agreement is expected to be finalized in Scholastic’s fiscal 2025 first quarter, which begins on June 1, 2024.

The two companies are no strangers, and according to a release the new agreement “solidifies a long-time collaboration” between them. Scholastic and 9 Story previously worked together on kids shows such as PBS and Prime Video’s Clifford the Big Red Dog and Apple TV+’s Eva the Owlet.

Other 9 Story productions include eight-time Emmy nominee Doc McStuffins, four-time Emmy nominee and one-time winner The Octonauts, and recent Canadian Screen Awards nominee Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

In their release, Scholastic president and CEO Peter Warwick said:

This highly strategic combination, adding 9 Story’s industry-leading capabilities with Scholastic’s trusted brand and proven ability to create iconic children’s series and franchises, has tremendous potential to build deeper connections with young people through our stories, as the pages of our books come to life on screens and through merchandising. At its core, Scholastic’s 360° content creation strategy is about engaging children with reading, and we have introduced our stories to generations of kids by reaching them where they are.

Vince Commisso, president and CEO at 9 Story, added:

We’ve been fortunate to work with Scholastic for decades, going back to my own start with the family-favorite production, The Magic School Bus. The combination of our global studios, sales, and distribution capabilities with Scholastic’s existing media business, iconic name, and unique capabilities opens even more opportunities to deliver compelling stories and build impactful brands for audiences worldwide.

9 Story assets include the Brown Bag Films animation studio, which has won 21 Emmy Awards and been nominated for two Oscars. The parent company also operates robust distribution and consumer products divisions that oversee global brands such as Clifford the Big Red Dog, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and Karma’s World.

Pictured at top: Doc McStuffins

Jamie Lang

Jamie Lang is the Editor-in-Chief of Cartoon Brew.