Disney takes Jetix control

The Walt Disney Company has secured the majority of the outstanding shares in Jetix Europe at a cost of €11 per share. It takes Disney’s ownership in the pan-European kids channel to 96%.

Once the transaction completes, most likely before the end of the year, Disney will be able to use statutory buyout regulations to obtain 100% ownership of the company. The Jetix listing on the Amsterdam Euronext exchange will be terminated.

In a statement, Disney said the Jetix audience and distribution partners would be better served “through improved programming, more targeted branding, more integrated management, and implementation of company-wide synergies”.

In June Jetix and Disney brought together their European distribution operations under a single team. Jetix has been hit by falling carriage rates and came close to leaving the CanalSat platform after protracted negotiations. Last month Jetix secured a multi-year extension to its UPC Central Europe distribution and is now available in a total of 52.3 million households.

“Television continues to be a strong brand builder for Disney around the world and this investment enhances our efforts to reach kids and families,” said Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney-ABC Television Group. “By achieving operating efficiencies, we will have additional opportunities to create more family-friendly programming and locally-produced content across Europe.”

It may turn out that the February rebranding of Toon Disney in the US to Disney XL, and targeting a similar demographic of 6-14 year old boys, may have greater implications for Jetix.

The former Fox Kids Europe was acquired by Disney in 2001.