Kidscreen » Archive » Shareholder calls for strategic review at Thunderbird Entertainment

Another shareholder has joined a call for change at Vancouver-based Thunderbird Entertainment. Railroad Ranch Capital, which owns just under 7% of the media company’s shares, issued a press release yesterday critiquing its management and overall performance.

The latest volley in an ongoing shareholder dispute saw Railroad praise Thunderbird’s leadership team–especially CEO Jennifer Twiner-McCarron–-but question whether the company’s share price reflects its true value, and also whether its board is best representing its interests.

Acknowledging Thunderbird’s success in building a portfolio that includes third-party productions and proprietary IPs, Railroad outlined three factors it feels are negatively affecting performance: a lack of transparency around the trajectory of future earnings (due primarily to the business model of TV and the NDAs required to protect IPs); a sharp decline in trading liquidity (shares sold per day); and, as a result of these two factors, a public valuation that does not accurately reflect the company’s success and its ability to acquire other companies.

Railroad is calling for a “rigorous strategic review process” to address shareholder concerns. Thunderbird, which owns Atomic Cartoons, the animation studio behind kids series Hello Ninja, The Last Kids on Earth and Molly of Denali, has been embroiled in a shareholder dispute since early November.

Voss Capital, which owns around 13% of Thunderbird’s shares, declared its intent to nominate a new board of directors for the company on November 4. It then doubled down last week, calling out the company in a release for what it calls a “destructive strategic direction” and an “apparent lack of urgency to create value and unresponsiveness to shareholder concerns.”

Thunderbird has delayed its AGM from December 6, 2022 to no later than March 6, 2023 as it prepares to respond to Voss’s call for changes. The company is demanding that Voss retract its “false and misleading” claims that board member Frank Giustra has sided with Voss.

In the meantime, Thunderbird has confirmed to Kidscreen that its day-to-day operations have not been affected by the shareholder action. “As we have disclosed, we are assessing the situation and will provide an update in due course. In the meantime, it’s business as usual.”

Thunderbird’s 2022 fiscal year (which ended June 30) was reported on October 20, with full-year revenue up 34% to US$149 million. The company will be releasing its Q1 2023 earnings statement tomorrow.

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