Sony Pictures Television (SPT) is moving into kids TV production for the first time after striking a $195m deal to buy Octonauts and Peter Rabbit prodco Silvergate Media.
SPT is buying the UK and New York-based company from its management team and Shamrock Capital, an LA-based investment firm that took a 51% star in the Silvergate Media in 2016.
Silvergate will continue to be managed by CEO Waheed Alli and William Astor will continue as chairman.
The deal, struck via Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), will see the US studio acquiring 100% of Silvergate Topco, whose assets include a 49% interest in a joint venture with Beijing-based Wanda Group. That JV holds the rights to The Octonauts.
Additionally, SPE has acquired a minority stake in Silvergate BP Bidco, which produces the Peter Rabbit TV series and which will continue to be majority-owned by Alli.
The acquisition comes as Sony looks to push deeper into kids TV, with its Sony Pictures Animation arm recently unveiling plans to expand into TV series. It will also expand SPT’s production interests, which include The Crown producer Left Bank and Stellify Media.
Mike Hopkins, chairman at SPT, 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 said the coming year “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 preschool properties and has since expanded its range with shows including Sunny Day for Nick Jr. The Octonauts, meanwhile, has become a global hit and is available on the BBC in the UK and via Netflix, while the kids company also has a growing presence in China.
Alvarium served as financial advisor to Silvergate Media.