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4Kids bidders tussle over assets

The auction for 4Kids Entertainment has ended in stalemate, with Saban- and Konami-backed bidders now looking to divide up the assets instead.

Last week, Japanese games giant Konami’s indirect subsidiary 4K Acquisition Corp emerged as a second bidder for Yu-Gi-Oh! rights holder 4Kids.

This followed a ‘stalking horse’ offer Saban Capital Group affiliate Kidsco Media Ventures levelled last month, which set the auction price at US$10m.

Konami and Saban made several offers during the process, which began on June 5, after which bidding was adjourned to allow them to consider working on a joint deal that would see each acquiring certain parts of the 4Kids business.

Assets up for grabs include the Yu-Gi-Oh! television series franchise, The CW programming block CW4Kids and distribution rights to seasons of series such as Dinosaur King.

Konami already publishes Yu-Gi-Oh! manga and video games and will likely seek the TV rights, while Saban owner Haim Saban has a history in children’s channel ownership with Fox Kids Network, and may favour taking the CW block. 4Kids’ UK-based sales house 4Kids International is not included.

If the pair cannot come up with a deal, the auction process will restart.

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