China-based animation studio and toyco Guangdong Alpha Animation and Culture Company has acquired 100% of U17.com, China’s leading platform for original comics and animations.
The merger, valued at US$143 million, is being called the largest acquisition deal in Chinese animation history.
Alpha, a parent company of Auldey Toys North America, is currently one of China’s largest animation and entertainment companies and notably produces new animated preschool series Super Wings.
The acquisition will see Alpha incorporate U17.com’s nearly seven million registered users and more than 40,000 web comics created by 20,000 cartoonists into its anime, comics and games platform.
In addition, it will expand Alpha’s content lineup to include all age groups and support the growth of its “pan-entertainment” ecosystem.
With the merger, U17.com has also announced an ambitious next phase of development called Plan U, which is expected to increase the number of professional comics artists and cartoonists on the platform by tenfold, and introduce an improved rev-share scheme for its freelance authors.