It’s crunch time for Cookie Jar Entertainment as it gets set to eliminate jobs at recently acquired DIC Entertainment.
Cookie Jar will announce the number of merger-mandated layoffs as part of an ‘integration plan’ to be made known to around 220 current employees at the US global brand management company by Aug. 26, Cookie Jar CEO Michael Hirsh said Tuesday.
The jobs most vulnerable are in corporate administration at DIC’s Burbank, CA headquarters, as Cookie Jar looks to remove duplication and overlap, where possible. Hirsh also said the company would be streamed into a production and a licensing & merchandising arms, suggesting that Cookie Jar’s current program development staff would head up all series development and production, while DIC staffers would focus on consumer products exploitation and not continue to develop DIC series in the pipeline prior to the merger.
Cookie Jar recently closed the deal to acquire DIC for US$87.6 million and become an indie animation giant.
The cutbacks come despite impressive potential for the newly merged DIC/Cookie Jar entity, Hirsh argued.
‘We bought DIC to build on the considerable strengths of the company, which includes a highly talented team. But at the same time, the former DIC employees knew the company was not viable in its current state,’ he said.
DIC founder Andy Heyward will remain with DIC/Cookie Jar as part of a new employment contract reporting to Cookie Jar Entertainment’s board of directors, Hirsh said. He also confirmed that DIC president and COO Jeffrey Edell departed the company at the time of the merger.
The deal for DIC includes a one-third stake in KidsCo, an international kids television channel jointly owned by NBC Universal and Corus Entertainment, and now managed by former CHUM executive Roma Khanna of NBC Universal’s Global Networks division in London.
From Playback Daily with files from Lana Castleman