LEONINE Holding GmbH has announced that it is founding LEONINE Animation Studios GmbH together with Hans Ulrich Stoef and Jo Daris and that all parties will pool their animation activities in this division in future.
The three partners will each contribute their shares in Toon2Tango GmbH & Co. KG to LEONINE Animation Studios GmbH with effect from January 1, 2024. LEONINE Holding GmbH has held a 25.1 percent stake in Toon2Tango GmbH & Co. KG since October 2022.
Toon2Tango GmbH & Co. KG now becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of LEONINE Animation Studios GmbH. LEONINE Holding GmbH holds a stake of 50 percent in LEONINE Animation Studios GmbH, with Hans Ulrich Stoef and Jo Daris also jointly holding 50 percent. LEONINE Holding GmbH also has the option to acquire a controlling majority in LEONINE Animation Studios GmbH from 2025.
The managing directors of LEONINE Animation Studios GmbH are Bernhard zu Castell, who as Chief Distribution Officer is responsible for the distribution and licensing division of LEONINE Holding GmbH, and the two Toon2Tango managing directors Hans Ulrich Stoef and Jo Daris.
LEONINE Animation Studios GmbH is a growth and investment platform for the development, production and acquisition of new IPs with international scope as well as other selective M&A activities in the animation sector. Initial projects include the production of the animated feature film SANTA.COM, which will be released in German cinemas in 2025 via LEONINE Studios, and the TV series spin-off of the well-known cinema franchise NIKO as well as the development of the series LITTLEST ROBOT, which was presented at the Cartoon Forum in Toulouse in September 2023, and the preschool series HEY FUZZY YELLOW, which is currently in production.
Fred Kogel, CEO of LEONINE Studios: “We want to consistently expand our successful children’s and family entertainment segment and this step will create the conditions for further growth in this exciting market. We are delighted that we can now deepen our partnership with Toon2Tango, Ulli Stoef and Jo Daris after our first year of successful collaboration.“
Bernhard zu Castell, Chief Distribution Officer at LEONINE Studios: “The expansion of our partnership with Ulli Stoef and Jo Daris is an important strategic step for our positioning in the animation sector. Since our investment in Toon2Tango in October 2022, we have completed hit series such as AGENT 203 and MONSTER LOVING MANIACS, among others, which have sold extremely well worldwide. The development, production and acquisition of major IPs is the perfect fit for our leading position in marketing and distribution, enabling us to create holistic brand worlds ranging from cinema and home entertainment to radio plays and podcasts.“
Hans Ulrich Stoef, CEO and producer at Toon2Tango: “We are very pleased to take the next step in the rapid development of Toon2Tango with our dream partner LEONINE Studios and to now become part of the LEONINE group. We have found the perfect match which offers us both the creative freedom and the necessary economic support to consistently expand in the areas of production, distribution and IP and brings us closer to our goal of becoming one of the leading European animation companies.“
Toon2Tango was founded four years ago by the experienced and successful management duo Hans Ulrich Stoef and Jo Daris, who produced, among others, the international hit series MIA AND ME, which has developed into a globally established brand world comprising four seasons of the TV series with a total of 104 episodes and a theatrical feature film. The team has also been involved in hit series and feature films such as MONSTER LOVING MANIACS, AGENT 203, GRISU, WISSPER, MAYA THE BEE: THE HONEY GAMES, TIP THE MOUSE, SITTING DUCKS, WAS IST WAS TV, MIFFY, FROG & FRIENDS and many more.
LEONINE Studios has been active in the field of children’s and family entertainment for many years and, as co-producer and distributor, has most recently brought the megahits THE SCHOOL OF MAGICAL ANIMALS 1 + 2, LASSIE – A NEW ADVENTURE, THE OGGLIES – WELCOME TO SMELLIVILLE, RABBIT ACADEMY: MISSION EGGPOSSIBLE, MAYA THE BEE or RAVEN THE LITTLE RASCAL to theatres. In home entertainment, LEONINE Studios complements its theatrical successes with the marketing of popular properties such as HEIDI, THE GRUFFALO and MIA AND ME.
LEONINE Studios has been expanding its market-leading position in moving image content for some time with the continuous development of a strong audio segment. In addition to the production of original content such as FC BAYERN TEAM CAMPUS and SCHLEICH HORSE CLUB, LEONINE extends successful IPs such as LEGO NINJAGO, TIP THE MOUSE and WOODWALKERS into the world of radio plays, audio books and podcasts. With the acquisition of justbridge’s license catalogue in April 2023 and the takeover of all marketing and distribution activities of The Walt Disney Company’s physical products in October 2023, LEONINE Studios has established itself as one of the largest and leading providers of kids and family entertainment in Germany.