Newark, N.J., September 16, 2003 – IDT Media today announced that its animation unit, Digital Production Solutions (DPS), has signed a binding Letter of Intent to acquire a controlling interest in Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. (TSX. MFE), a leading creator of computer animation for TV and direct-to-video products. IDT Media is a subsidiary of IDT Corporation (NYSE: IDT, IDT.C), a multinational carrier, telephone and technology company.
DPS’ acquisition of a controlling interest in Mainframe is subject to both parties meeting certain conditions of closing, including a restructuring of Mainframe’s existing debt, and Mainframe’s required shareholder and regulatory approval.
Mainframe Entertainment, Inc., one of the world’s leading producers of computer animation, has partnered with Hasbro, Mattel and Sony to create TV series based on characters and brands including Barbie, Hot Wheels and Spider-Man. Its programming has aired on The Cartoon Network, ABC, and FOX networks in the U.S., and YTV and CBC in Canada. Recently, the company completed a direct-to-video CG feature “Barbie as Rapunzel” and announced that Buena Vista International has acquired Disney Channel’s broadcast rights to Mainframe’s Computer Generated (CG) animated special “Scary Godmother Halloween Spooktakular.”
“This acquisition is a vital part of IDT’s long term growth strategy,” said Jim Courter, IDT’s CEO. “Mainframe Entertainment will provide DPS with additional programming, new distribution channels and increased revenue.”
Mainframe Entertainment, Inc., which is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia and maintains offices in Los Angeles, California, offers creative and production services (special effects, modeling, motion capture), as well as product licensing and merchandising for third parties. Since its inception in 1993, Mainframe has produced over 240 half hours of computer animation.
“Acquiring Mainframe makes DPS bigger and better,” said Morris Berger, President of DPS. “It provides us with another animation hub located in Canada to add to our existing international network. We enhance our ability to develop, produce and merchandise animated programming for distribution worldwide, and we gain an experienced partner with an impressive record for putting programming on the air.”
“Becoming a part of DPS is a perfect fit for Mainframe Entertainment,” said Rick Mischel, Mainframe’s CEO. “With DPS’ innovative Global Animation Studio streamlining our production process and maximizing our productivity we can better execute our plan of developing and exploiting the best in proprietary properties while maintaining the highest level of CGI animation for our own properties and our clients.”
In May 2003, DPS announced it has acquired a controlling interest in Film Roman, the animation company well known for its production work on “The Simpsons,” “King of the Hill,” and other well known broadcast television programs. In July 2003, DPS announced that it entered into a partnership agreement with Vanguard Animation to co-produce and co-own all Vanguard properties including feature film releases, direct-to-DVD and broadcast.
In March of this year, DPS acquired rights to never-before-seen projects created by Gene Roddenberry. “Gene Roddenberry’s Starpoint Academy” and “Gene Roddenberry’s Char,” are the first original properties acquired by DPS. DPS is currently working on a co-production with Jim Jinkins and David Campbell of Cartoon Pizza, the creators of Doug, Stanley and PB&J Otter.
IDT Corporation, through its IDT Telecom, Inc. subsidiary, is a facilities-based, multinational carrier that provides a broad range of telecommunications services to its retail and wholesale customers worldwide. IDT Telecom, by means of its own national telecommunications backbone and fiber optic network infrastructure, provides its customers with integrated and competitively priced international and domestic long distance telephony and prepaid calling cards. IDT and Liberty Media Corporation own 95% and 5% of IDT Telecom, respectively. Liberty Media Corporation also owns a 5.6% stake in IDT Media. IDT Media, Inc. is the IDT subsidiary principally responsible for the Company’s initiatives in media, new video technologies and print media. Winstar Holdings, LLC is the IDT subsidiary through which we provide broadband and telephony services to commercial and governmental customers through a fixed-wireless and fiber infrastructure. In December 2002, we announced that the services offered by Winstar would begin to be offered under the name “IDT Solutions.” Net2Phone, Inc., a subsidiary of IDT Corporation, is a leading provider of high-quality global retail Voice over IP services, either directly or via a partner.
IDT Corporation common shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbols IDT and IDT.C.
In this press release, all statements that are not purely about historical facts, including, but not limited to, those in which we use the words “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “plan,” “intend,” “estimate, “target” and similar expressions, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. While these forward-looking statements represent our current judgment of what may happen in the future, actual results may differ materially from the results expressed or implied by these statements due to numerous important factors, including, but not limited to, those described in our most recent report on SEC Form 10-K (under the heading “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”), which may be revised or supplemented in subsequent reports on SEC Forms 10-Q and 8-K. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following: potential declines in prices for our products and services; our ability to maintain and grow our retail telecommunications services, particularly our prepaid calling card business; availability of termination capacity; financial stability of our customers; our ability to maintain carrier agreements with foreign carriers; effectiveness of our marketing and distribution efforts; increased competition, particularly from regional bell operating companies; our ability to manage our growth; competitiveness of our Winstar subsidiary; impact of government regulation; our ability to obtain telecommunications products or services required for our products and services; and general economic conditions, particularly in the telecommunications markets. We are under no obligation, and expressly disclaim any obligation, to update the forward-looking statements in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.