Genius Brands Invests in Germany’s YFE


Genius Brands International has entered into an agreement to acquire a 28.6 percent stake in Your Family Entertainment (YFE), to be followed by a mandatory tender offer of the outstanding shares of YFE.

YFE has a streaming and broadcast footprint on satellite, cable, OTT and terrestrial networks. Subject to YFE shareholder approval, the brand will be renamed Genius Family Entertainment and will operate its children’s networks under Kartoon Channel! Worldwide.

Genius Brands has agreed to acquire 3,000,000 shares of YFE for €6 million, to be followed by a mandatory tender offer to acquire additional outstanding shares of YFE at €2 per share. Genius Brands plans to invest up to €7 million to further capitalize YFE and invest in growing the global digital and linear channel footprint, as well as launch key IP.

YFE will maintain its independent listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and will be run by the current management board of CEO Dr. Stefan Piëch and Bernd Wendeln. Piëch, who also sits on the supervisory board of Porsche Automobil Holding and Siemens Austria, will join Genius Brands’ board of directors in the U.S.

Concurrently, Paul Robinson, former managing director of Disney Television International and senior VP of Disney Channel Worldwide, has been appointed managing director of Kartoon Channel! Worldwide and will oversee the international buildout and growth of Kartoon Channel! Robinson and his team will be based in London.

Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of Genius Brands, stated: “We believe the strategic transaction with Germany’s YFE, added to the IP assets and earnings of Canada’s WOW! Unlimited Media will present us with additional growth opportunities in furtherance of our goal of becoming the leading provider of quality and responsible children’s entertainment in the world today and for years to come.

“We are excited to be working with Stefan and Bernd on the YFE side to drive and grow the business going forward. With Stefan’s award-winning commitment to family-friendly content and Bernd’s experience and network in the European market (e.g., ProSiebenSat.1 Group, Tele München Group), we look forward to jointly delivering content with a purpose to children worldwide.”

Heyward added: “I have known and worked with Paul Robinson at The Walt Disney Company and saw how he built out the Disney Channel business worldwide. I believe that he can guide Kartoon Channel! Worldwide’s international expansion, as we build the global children’s business of the future.”

Piëch said: “We are excited to participate in this transaction with Genius Brands and look forward to creating value for both our shareholders worldwide and for families who watch our award-winning shows. Whether through our classic European titles like Fix & Foxi and Albert, or our U.S.-produced titles like Fairly Odd Parents, we deliver powerful content that kids love, which will be highly synergistic as we become part of Genius Brands and the growing global Kartoon Channel! banner. Moreover, with Genius Brands’ development and production expertise, we can reboot YFE’s massive IP and create new franchises.”

He added: “We are fully committed to ‘content with a purpose’ and scaling positive, pro-environment, non-violent storytelling for children. By working together, we look forward to unlocking the full potential of our portfolio, distribution platforms and retail business worldwide.”