VeggieTales sells for $
to Classic Media of New York

VeggieTales’ characters are now owned by Classic Media LLC of New York.

Big Idea’s annual revenue was about $40 million in 2001 and 2002, but the Lombard-based Christian animation company listed losses of $43 million and assets of $8 million when it declared Chapter 11 in September.

More than $19 million of those liabilities will be absolved through the sale Oct. 30 of the assets of Big Idea Productions, Inc. to New York-based Classic Media, LLC at auction that attracted six other bidders.

Creditors will be paid in December when the sale is completed.

Classic Media outbid six other bidders at $19.3 million to acquire Big Idea’s computer-generated cartoon characters ? most notably Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber of best-selling “VeggieTales” Christian home videos ? copyrights and trademarks and works in progress.

Details about the ownership of some licensing and distribution deals have yet to be disclosed.

Under terms of the deal, Classic Media is not required to offer employment to the core creative team that produced “VeggieTales” and its spinoffs.

Terry Pefanis, Big Idea’s CEO who replaced founder Phil Vischer, said, however, that Classic Media indicated it will continue the brand and continue to support the company’s mission. Classic intends to produce new videos and other products.

Classic Media owns or manages some of the world’s most recognizable family properties across all media, including “Lassie,” “The Lone Ranger,” “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the Harvey library and Golden Books.

Thirty million copies of “VeggieTales” home videos have been sold since Big Idea Productions was founded in 1993 by Bible student and animator Phil Vischer.

Big Idea just released “The Ballad of Little Joe,” currently the best-selling video in the Christian Booksellers Association. An Easter special is due for February 2004 release, followed by videos next May and September.