Genius Brands International announced that the company will be changing its name to Kartoon Studios. In connection with the name change, the company plans to transfer its listing from the Nasdaq Capital Market (“Nasdaq”) to the NYSE American exchange (“NYSE American”).
Kartoon Studios is expected to commence trading on the NYSE American exchange when markets open on Monday, June 26, 2023. Effective that date, the company’s common stock will begin trading under a new trading symbol, “TOON,” and a new CUSIP number, 37229T 509. The company will continue to trade on Nasdaq under its current trading symbol, “GNUS,” until the close of market on Friday, June 23, 2023.
The firm also reported that “Stan Lee,” via animation, will ring the opening bell of the NYSE on June 26, reflecting the emphasis on Stan Lee created IP going forward for Kartoon Studios. Through its interest in Stan Lee Universe, the company controls the name, likeness, signature, consumer product licensing, and post-Marvel IP of Stan Lee, which it has commenced to bring to market beginning with a 20-year license to Marvel and The Walt Disney Company, and a major branding initiative commemorating Lee’s 100th anniversary at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2023.
“The name change from Genius Brands to Kartoon Studios was conceived to reflect the core DNA of the company, making high quality and socially responsible animated cartoons for children, distributing them worldwide, and licensing consumer products based on the character images. In conjunction with the renaming of the company, we are transitioning our stock listing to the NYSE American exchange, which we believe is more aligned with our strategy to become a leading provider of children’s entertainment. NYSE is home to major multimedia powerhouses like Disney, Sony, Roblox, AMC, and others. We are heading into our next phase of growth so the timing is ideal for us as a company and our shareholders to make the move. I encourage investors to join ‘Stan Lee,’ along with management and the board, as he rings the NYSE opening bell on June 26 to celebrate this momentous occasion,” said Andy Heyward, Chairman & CEO of Genius Brands.
“The defining focus of our new ‘Kartoon’ and animation rebranding reflects the recent vertical integration of the business following several acquisitions over the past year, including WOW! Unlimited Media in Canada and its subsidiaries Frederator Studios, Frederator Network and Mainframe Entertainment; Ameba TV; Beacon Media; as well as taking a major stake in Germany’s Your Family Entertainment, the largest children’s animation catalogue in Europe. We now have capabilities to do everything in-house, from content creation to production, distribution, and global merchandising,” Heyward added.
At the same time, the company is also expanding its content across wider demographics, ranging from toddlers to young adults, including its recently launched hit series, “Shaq’s Garage,” which premiered on Pluto TV, starring and co-produced by NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, which caters to a younger audience. Additionally, through its Frederator Studios subsidiary, it has several initiatives in content development that skew to a broader audience. For example, it has an exclusive deal with BuzzFeed Animation Lab to develop select properties into full series based on hit YouTube shorts, including ‘Chikn’ Nuggit.’ Frederator also signed a deal with Jimmy Kimmel’s Wheelhouse DNA and YouTube sensation Adam Waheed for an animated series. Concurrently, the company’s series ‘Bee and PuppyCat’, co-produced with TOHO of Japan, has been a breakout hit that led to a Netflix series and merchandise program with Hot Topic.
“While other companies in the entertainment industry are struggling and declining in the current economic market and industry challenges, Kartoon Studios continues to rapidly grow, best illustrated by a nearly eight-fold increase in revenue for 2022. Multiple new productions are in various stages of development,” Heyward concluded.
The name change from Genius Brands to Kartoon Studios was conceived to reflect the core DNA of the company.” Andy Heyward Chairman & CEO of Genius Brands