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Entertainment Rights buys Postman Pat creator

UK distributor Entertainment Rights has acquired the privately-held Woodland Animations, creator of the 20-year-old Postman Pat animated TV series, in a £5.1m ($7.5m) deal.

The deal, financed through the issue of £5.4m ($7.9m) in loan notes, includes a further £300k ($441k) in cash to buy back certain non-core royalty rights. The deal gives ER rights to all Woodland's properties worldwide in perpetuity. As well as Postman Pat, these include Gran, Charlie Chalk and Bertha.

Under the deal, ER will revive the Postman Pat series by developing new TV programming, DVD and video releases, alongside new consumer products, said ER's ceo Mike Heap.

{Though Postman Pat's revenues have diminished, ER's proven track record in reinvigorating under-exploited properties will ensure the character is revitalised on a global basis,{ he said. {At less than six times multiple of 2000 royalty earnings, this all-rights acquisition is expected to be earnings enhancing in the first year of ownership.{

Heap continued: {Classic brands have become increasingly attractive to television channels, marketeers and retailers. Postman Pat has been well established and nurtured by its owners for over 20 years – Entertainment Rights’ development of the property will take the character to a new level of success.{

The Postman Pat series, which launched on BBC1 in 1981, has been sold into 55 territories, including Japan, the US, Canada, France and across Scandinavia. It regularly achieved retail sales in excess of £10m ($14m) annually, helped by some 2.5m video sales in the UK alone.

Woodland Animations posted pre-tax profits of £430k ($632k) last year, with net assets of £1.2m ($1.76m).

In other ER news, the company's recently released Barbie in the Nutcracker video has scored some 100k UK sales in its first week.

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