New York-based investment firm Integrated Media Company (IMC) has bought Toon Boom Animation from Canadian animation company Nelvana Limited, a subsidiary of Corus Entertainment.
It is unclear what impact, if any, the change of ownership will have on users of the company’s software, though Corus has said that they will “work closely with IMC to support a smooth transition.”
Here’s a closer look at the deal and who the new owners are:
- Montreal-based Toon Boom Animation is the developer of Harmony and Storyboard Pro software, two of the most widely-used professional animation packages for digital 2d production. The programs, which are are particularly dominant in North American productions, are used in the making of countless series including The Cuphead Show, Animaniacs, Centaurworld, The Ghost and Molly McGee, and Central Park, as well as features like The Princess and the Frog, The Bob’s Burgers Movie, and Space Jam: A New Legacy.
- IMC paid $147.5 million Canadian ($111.4 million USD) in cash to acquire Toon Boom. The deal is expected to close in calendar 2023.
- Nelvana’s parent company Corus expects to net $142 million CAD from the deal, which it will use to repay debt. Colin Bohm, EVP of content and corporate strategy at Corus Entertainment explained further, “Corus is building a powerful multiplatform business aggregating premium video content. After an enterprise-wide review of our operating model and asset base, we have decided to exit the animation software business. This move will free up capital, increase Corus’ financial flexibility, and sharpen our focus as we advance our strategic plan and priorities.”
- Toon Boom was founded in 1994. Corus purchased a 50% interest in Toon Boom in 2004, and acquired the remaining portion of the company in 2012.
- Yuning Zhang, who led the transaction for IMC, said in a statement: “Toon Boom empowers creators of all types to bring their stories to life through a versatile platform that offers powerful storyboarding, extensive animation capabilities, and tools for streamlining the production process. … Its exceptional tools are trusted by both large and small creative teams, as well as educational institutions shaping the next generation of talent. We are excited to collaborate with the team at Toon Boom to expand their platform into new markets and to introduce ground-breaking products.”
- IMC’s website does not indicate they have any other animation-specific holdings. The company, which is backed by private equity firm TPG, invests across the digital media landscape and has three verticals: soccer, e-commerce enablement, and entertainment. Presumably, Toon Boom would fall into its entertainment holdings, which currently consists of websites like Fandom, Screen Junkies, Gamespot, and TV Guide. IMC says their entertainment media holdings receive 350 million monthly unique visitors.
Pictured at top: Productions made with Toon Boom including The Cuphead Show!, The Bob’s Burgers Movie, and The Princess and the Frog.