A few weeks after receiving a letter from one of its largest shareholders, IDW Media Holdings has hired J.P. Morgan to oversee a review of IDW’s strategic alternatives, including the possible sale of the company.
In making the announcement, Howard Jonas, IDW’s chairman and CEO, said the company is looking “to realize the full potential of its vast content library and pipeline.” Jonas’s remarks echoed those of Adam Wyden, managing member of ADW Capital Partners, whose letter to the IDW board and management pushed for the sale of the company, saying IDW was in a great position to take advantage of the growing demand for content. ADW has about a 9% stake in IDW.
Wyden's call for a sale of the company comes in the wake of a series of executive changes at IDW over the past two years.
In his letter to the IDW board, Wyden compared IDW Publishing to such graphic novel publishers as Valiant Entertainment (acquired by DMG) and Millarworld (acquired by Netflix) both acquired with a view to turn their content libraries into films and TV shows. Wyden was particularly enthusiastic about the value of IDW content in the current marketplace for original IP.
Wyden said that IDW “is in an enviable position as the fourth largest comic book publisher by dollar share. We are consistently amazed by the quality of the Company's leadership and its ability to source, incubate, and add to its growing library of content/intellectual property.”
He noted that IDW owns or co-owns more than 200 IP franchise, more than 1,000 characters and publishes more than 20 new segments of story-content each year. Wyden also cited IDW series that have been produced for film and TV, among them Wynonna Earp (renewed for a 4th and 5th season on the SyFY network), and the series Locke & Key, October Faction, and V-Wars (all three series have been signed for shows on Netflix)
Noting that “IDW has struggled to financially monetize its content,” Wyden called on IDW to “structure a stock-for-stock transaction with a larger public company that would allow current shareholders to receive an even higher premium for their stock than if the consideration was paid solely in cash, while allowing shareholders the option to participate in the value and synergy IDW should add to the new platform.”