The “strategic review” of DHX Media Ltd.’s options, including a sale of all or part of the company, has been extended beyond the company’s June 30 target date.
The Halifax-based owner of children’s entertainment content, including the world-famous Peanuts brand, now says it is considering “multiple opportunities” and will report back to investors “in due course.”
The company’s future has been up in the air for nearly nine months now – a period that has seen a string of disappointing operating results, a sustained decline of the company’s share price, a surprise chief executive change and a deal with a division of Sony Corp. to sell off almost half of DHX’s stake in Peanuts.
One key issue has been the company’s level of debt, which rose significantly when DHX acquired majority ownership of the Peanuts and Strawberry Shortcake brands in May, 2017, for US$345-million.
The subsequent $237-million deal with Sony, which was announced last month and is scheduled to close in July, will help the company pare down its debt while maintaining control of the Peanuts brand.
But there is no news of whether there are potential buyers for DHX itself. The review of the company’s strategic options was expected to be complete by June 30, which was the endpoint suggested by company executives at the annual shareholders meeting in March.
The review committee was first launched last October, and since then, DHX’s stock has lost almost 50 per cent of its value. In February, a management shakeup resulted in the departures of the CEO and CFO, as the company’s co-founder, Michael Donovan, returned to lead the company through its turnaround effort.
While extending the review indefinitely, the company also announced an addition to its board of directors: Jonathan Whitcher, chief investment officer at New York-based hedge fund Fine Capital Partners.
“Jonathan has a particularly strong understanding of efficient capital allocation and capital markets in the United States, as well as a good understanding of our business and the opportunities in the global kids’ content market,” Don Wright, DHX’s lead director, said in a statement.