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Deal analysis: Imagi International buys Chinese cartoon company

Erica Poon and Peter Ollier, Hong Kong

A Hong Kong animation company has bought Chinese cartoon maker Toon Express Group in a deal that highlights the increasing attractiveness of licensing Chinese content and merchandise

Imagi International will initially pay HK$814 million ($105 million) in cash and consideration shares as part of a deal that is expected to be completed in April.

"It was a strategic move for Imagi to make this acquisition of Toon Express because they saw property that had massive amount of potential," said Connie Carnabuci, a partner of Freshfields in Hong Kong.

"This is an indicator of the social development of China and the export of Chinese culture," she added.

Founded in 2000, Imagi International is a producer and distributor of computer graphic imaging (CGI) animated motion pictures. Its works include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Astro Boy. Big Big Wolf

Toon Express Group owns the IP to popular Chinese animated series Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf (喜羊羊与灰太狼), which is about a group of goats that live on the Green-Green grassland and have to avoid a clumsy wolf who wants to eat...

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