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CoComelon owner Moonbug acquired by Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ media venture


Children’s entertainment company Moonbug Entertainment has been acquired by the new, still-unnamed media venture led by Disney alums Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs.

Mayer and Staggs’ firm, which is backed by private equity firm Blackstone Group, said that it has entered a definitive agreement to buy the London- and LA-based company behind brands such as CoComelon, Blippi and Little Baby Bum.

Financial terms were not disclosed by either party, but US reports have the deal pegged at around US$3bn.

Moonbug’s founders CEO René Rechtman and COO John Robson, as well as the existing management team and shareholders, will retain equity stakes in the new media company, according to a release. The transaction is still subject to customary closing conditions.

Since it was founded in 2018, Moonbug has enjoyed rapid growth. It acquired key brands CoComelon and Blippi in July 2020 for a combined US$120m.

The CoComelon YouTube channel has more than 120 million subscribers and the videos on its page have been viewed more than 120 billion times since the channel launched in 2006. The CoComelon show is also the most-watched kids show on Netflix, according to Moonbug.

Globally, Moonbug content is available in 27 languages on more than 100 platforms such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Peacock, HBO, Amazon and Sky. Other brands and shows housed under the Moonbug umbrella include My Magic Pet Morphle, Supa Strikas, Go Buster, Playtime with Twinkle, Gecko’s Garage and ARPO.

News of the deal comes three months after Mayer and Staggs’ media venture acquired Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine prodco for an estimated $900m. Earlier this week it was revealed that Mayer, who spearheaded the international launch of Disney+, will also act as a consultant on the impending Discovery-WarnerMedia merger.

“We have known René and his innovative team for years, including during our time together at Disney, and they have built a perfect example of the type of category-defining business we are looking to bring into our company,” said Mayer and Staggs in a joint statement.

“They know how to identify and support brands that are beloved by millions of families across the globe. We and our partners at Blackstone look forward to helping expand Moonbug’s portfolio of titles and further extend its franchises across digital platforms and key licensing and merchandising channels.”

Joe Baratta, global head of private equity at Blackstone, and David Kestnbaum, a senior managing director at Blackstone, added: “We are thrilled to partner with René, John and the impressive Moonbug team. They deeply understand the fast-changing digital media environment and have rapidly established Moonbug as a digital-native powerhouse in children’s entertainment. We are excited to help fuel their continued expansion in the years ahead.”


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