Genius Brands International has entered into an agreement to acquire a 28.6% stake in Germany’s Your Family Entertainment (YFE) for US$6.8 million. The deal, which is still subject to YFE shareholder approval, will see the distributor/broadcaster rebranded as Genius Family Entertainment.
YFE’s kids networks will now also operate under the Kartoon Channel! Worldwide banner. Former Disney exec Paul Robinson (pictured) has been appointed as managing director of Kartoon Channel! Worldwide, effective immediately. Reporting to Kartoon Channel! president Jon Olwerther, he’s based in London and charged with overseeing the brand’s global expansion.
Robinson previously served as managing director of Walt Disney Television International and SVP of Disney Channels Worldwide. In 2018, he was named CEO of Imira Entertainment, but stepped down in 2019. And Robinson is no stranger to YFE—he was the company’s EVP from 2013 to 2016.
YFE has more than 4,000 films and episodes of animated and live-action content from both European and US producers in its catalogue. Moving forward, non-violent content and themes like sustainability will be a focus for its growth. The company will continue to be run by its current management board, which is comprised of CEO Stefan Piech and COO Bernd Wendeln. Genius Brands’ new EVP and GM of global franchise management Kerry Phelan will supervise the global rollout of consumer products based on channel content. Moving forward, Genius plans to invest as much as US$7.8 million to expand YFE’s digital and linear footprint globally.
This acquisition comes on the heels of several others designed to broaden Genius Brands’ international reach. In October, the company picked up Canadian prodco Wow! Unlimited Media, and it acquired marketing and media agency ChizComm in 2020.