The media company run by Disney alumni Kevin Mayer and Tom Stags and backed by private equity firm Blackstone has acquired Moonbug Entertainment, creator of popular children’s shows like CoComelon.
The deal’s valuation, which had been rumored in recent weeks, was not specified in the official announcement, but people familiar with the deal put it at $ 2.75 billion. With price-complement incentives, the final price could reach $ 3 billion.
Moonbug founders CEO René Rechtman and COO John Robson, along with the management team and existing shareholders will retain stakes in the still unnamed Mayer / Staggs / Blackstone company.
Founded in 2018, Moonbug has offices in the UK and Los Angeles. He quickly built a large global following of family viewers with shows like CoComelon, Blippi, little baby ass and many others. Netflix stream CoComelon in the United States, where it is frequently in the weekly top 10 in terms of total viewing time.
Moonbug’s programming appears in 27 languages on more than 100 platforms around the world. In addition to Netflix, it is carried by YouTube, Hulu, HBO, Amazon and Sky. The CoComelon The YouTube channel is # 2 among all the channels on the platform, with around 120 million subscribers worldwide.
For Mayer and Staggs, who were each senior Disney executives, the deal follows their acquisition last summer of Hello Sunshine from Reese Witherspoon. Mayer has worn multiple hats, as chairman of Len Blavatnik DAZN’s sports streaming operation and recently joined Discovery as a strategic advisor.
“John and I have built a leading, digitally-focused children’s entertainment business built on strong values and content focused on digital platforms,” Rechtman said. “Our vision is to build global family franchises, which is totally aligned with the vision and experience of Kevin and Tom. I had the pleasure of working with them earlier in my career and am delighted to be brought together to build the next global entertainment powerhouse. You couldn’t find stronger partners in our industry.
In a joint statement, Mayer and Staggs noted their connection to Rechtman dating back to his time at Disney and Maker Studios, which Disney acquired. “They have built a perfect example of the type of category definition business that we are looking to incorporate into our business,” executives said of Moonbug. “They know how to identify and support brands loved by millions of families around the world. We and our partners at Blackstone look forward to helping expand Moonbug’s portfolio of securities and further expand its franchises across digital platforms and major licensing and merchandising channels.
Joe Baratta, Global Head of Private Equity at Blackstone, and David Kestnbaum, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, added: “We are delighted to partner with René, John and the awesome team at Moonbug. They fully understand the rapidly changing digital media environment and quickly established Moonbug as a native digital powerhouse in children’s entertainment. We are delighted to help fuel their continued expansion in the years to come. “