Tuesday, May 16, 2006

IDT sold to Liberty Media

Buying fever seems to be spreading -- Liberty Media has just bought IDT Entertainment . . . A few years ago IDT Entertainment came out of nowhere and jumped into the animation game. They bought Film Roman (among other acquisitions) and moved aggressively into a variety of animation ventures. Their first theatrical feature, Everyone's Hero debuts in a few months. My understanding is that the owner of IDT made his bank in prepaid calling cards (IDT stands for something like International Digital Telephone -- somebody please correct me), and that he had a personal interest in animation that drove his move into the industry. Liberty Media, formerly a part of ATT, owns major stakes in QVC, Starz, and News Corp., among others. This buyout follows the pattern of giant media conglomerates buying smaller studios. I suppose it means that IDT has even deeper pockets to draw from, but I really have no idea what it really means for the future of the company. Addendum: Here's part of the press release that employees of IDT Entertainment in Burbank got this morning: Starz's Top Premimum Television Service to Join with IDT'S Animation and Live Action Production and Home Entertainment and Distribution Business Combined Company Will Produce Content for All Distribution Platforms. Englewood, CO and Newark, N.J. -- May 16, 2006 -- Liberty Media Corporation and IDT Corporation announced today that they have entered into a binding term sheet for the sale of IDT Entertainment to Liberty Media for all of Liberty Media's interests in IDT, $186 million in cash and the assumption of existing indebtedness. With this acquisition, Liberty Media's Starz Entertainment Group will have the capability to create a wide array of CG animated and live action programming for domestic and international distribution in all major channels, including broadcast syndication, premimum television, theatrical and home video/DVD.


Mark Mayerson said...

IDT actually put out press releases claiming they were going to be "Pixar on steroids."

It's clear that their committment to animation was a joke. They smelled money but I'm guessing there wasn't enough of it or they wouldn't have sold the company.

Kevin Koch said...

From reading your blog, you had a hell of an experience with IDT, Mark. The best I can say is that perhaps under Liberty Media things will be better, though they (LM) seem like a company more interested in short-term profits than long-term commitment.

Anonymous said...

"The touching story of a boy and his talking bat. Not the nocturnal, flapping kind. That would be weird."

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