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Lord Alli buys Octonauts, Beatrix Potter

Former Chorion chairman Lord Waheed Alli has bought rights to The World of Beatrix Potter and new toon Octonauts from his former company.

A new firm backed by Alli, Silvergate Media, has purchased the rights to the two properties, both of which have TV series in production, for an undisclosed amount.

Octonauts began broadcasting on UK net CBeebies last year, has sold around the world and has a second season in production, while The Tales of Peter Rabbit goes out on Nickelodeon next year.

The deal marks the first sale of UK rights management group Chorion’s assets. This came about after Alli and former deputy chairman William Astor failed to find new backers to service a multimillion-dollar debt burden from when the firm went private in 2006.

The process is being handled by DC Advisory Partners, which was today unavailable for comment. Chorion’s other assets include the Mr Men characters, Noddy, a majority share in the Agatha Christie’s literary estate and a stake in Olivia and Gaspard & Lisa. DC will continue to shed these over an unspecified period.

Earlier this week, rival kids’ firm Entertainment One ruled itself out of the auction following a report in the UK press over the weekend.

Chorion, which is still under the ownership of private investment group 3i, has additionally agreed ongoing banking facilities with its senior lenders. The firm continues to trade ahead of budget.

Silvergate shares the same address as Chorion, at Aldwych House, London. The Guardian newspaper claimed Alli used funds raised by selling half of his stake in online fashion retailer Asos for £14.25m (US$21.8m) last week.

Chorion declined to comment and Silvergate could not be reached.


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