Sony Pictures Television has acquired Silvergate Media, stake holders in the pre-school hit Octonauts, and production team behind the Peter Rabbit television series, in a bid to strengthen its presence within the children’s entertainment space.
Under the deal, Sony Pictures Entertainment has taken a 100 per cent control of Silvergate Topco Limited, whose assets include Silvergate’s 49 per cent interest in a joint venture with the Beijing-based Wanda Group, which holds the rights to Octonauts.
Additionally, SPE has acquired a minority stake in Silvergate BP Bidco Limited which produces the Peter Rabbit TV series, and will continue to be majority-owned by Silvergate CEO, Waheed Alli.
Alli will continue to manage the Silvergate outfit, and William Astor will continue as chairman of the business that focuses on developing, producing and licensing children’s animation with offices in both London and New York.
The total purchase price was approximately $195 million.
This acquisition, alongside the announcement to expand the business of Sony Pictures Animation to include animated television series, underlines SPT’s strategy of diversifying its studio business and growing key genres.
Mike Hopkins, chairman, Sony Pictures Television, said: “We are excited to extend our capabilities and gain valuable children’s IP to bolster our entry into the kids’ space. Silvergate gives us a great building block to expand into this genre in a meaningful way.”
Waheed Alli added: “We are all excited about joining SPT and the creative teams within the SPT family. 2020 will see a new and strong development slate coming to market with some exciting new series in the pipeline.”
Silvergate was founded in October 2011 through the purchase of rights to two pre-school properties. Over the past several years, the company has significantly expanded its children’s IP. Silvergate also has a strong and growing presence in China, collaborating with Chinese conglomerates and effectively monetising IP with its partners.
“This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the team at Silvergate,” said Will Wynperle, partner at Shamrock. “Over the past several years, the company has significantly grown its portfolio of brands, many of which can be seen on a global basis. We have enjoyed working with the Silvergate team over the past several years and they are excited about their new partnership with SPT.”
Alvarium served as financial advisor to Silvergate Media and Foot Anstey LLP served as its legal counsel. Latham & Watkins served as legal advisor to SPT.