Following the completion of its strategic review in September, DHX Media has revealed that it plans to sell its Halifax animation studio to a local company called IoM Media Ventures.
The shop employs 168 full-time staffers and has produced Inspector Gadget, The Doozers, Little People and Space Ranger Roger.
When the sale goes through at the end of December, DHX’s entire animation production operations will be based in its Vancouver studio, which opened in early 2016 and combined the company’s west coast 2D and CGI animation production subsidiary. The 75,000-square-foot facility is home to around 600 employees. DHX still is and will remain headquartered in Halifax, where it was founded in 2006 when Toronto’s Decode Entertainment and the Halifax Film Company merged and went public.
The sale is still subject to a number of closing conditions, and financial terms were not disclosed.
DHX said the move is part of its “ongoing strategic shift to focus and streamline its production operations.” It also noted that the deal does not include ownership of long-running series This Hour Has 22 Minutes (CBC), which is filmed in Halifax. The satirical news and sketch comedy show, which is currently in its 26th season on CBC, remains a DHX holding and will continue to be produced in Halifax.
News of the sale follows a year-long review of DHX’s operations that saw a number of structural and operational changes made, including the exit of former president and COO Steven DeNure and CEO Dana Landry. To shore up the executive ranks, Josh Scherba was appointed president and Aaron Ames tapped as COO. DHX also sold a minority stake in the Peanuts brand to Sony Music Entertainment Japan (SMEJ) for $235.6 million.
DHX officially brought the review process to a close in late September, announcing that it had consolidated a number of business units, cut staff and refocused its content strategy on high-end premium children’s content and ad-supported YouTube network Wildbrain.
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