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Blackstone-Backed Media Co. Acquiring Moonbug Entertainment

CoComelon

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Blackstone-Backed Media Co. Acquiring Moonbug Entertainment

Moonbug Entertainment Ltd. — the digital-first, global children’s entertainment company behind CoComelon — has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by the recently formed media company run by entertainment executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, both formerly of  TheWalt Disney Company, and backed by investment capital from Blackstone.

Moonbug’s founders, CEO René Rechtman and COO John Robson, and existing management team and shareholders, will retain equity stakes in the Mayer-Staggs-Blackstone-backed media company. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Bloomberg values the transaction at $3 billion.

“John and I have built a category-leading, digital-first kids entertainment business based on strong values and content that is focused on digital platforms,” said Rechtman. “Our vision is to build global family franchises, which is wholly aligned with Kevin and Tom’s vision and experience. I have had the pleasure of working with them both earlier in my career and am thrilled to be reunited to build the next global powerhouse of entertainment. You could not find stronger partners in our industry.”

Founded in 2018, Moonbug has rapidly built an industry-leading, global family audience through its highly popular shows such as CoComelon, Blippi, Little Baby Bum and many others. Their content appears in 27 languages on more than 100 platforms around the world such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon and Sky. Moonbug shows promote healthy values like compassion, empathy and resilience to kids around the world. Moonbug’s CoComelon is currently the second-most subscribed YouTube channel with approximately 120 million subscribers globally and the most-watched kids show on Netflix.

Mayer and Staggs said, “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. 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, commented, “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.”

Blackstone’s investment is being made through funds affiliated with the firm’s flagship private equity business. The firm has made a range of entertainment, digital and content-focused investments across its businesses, including children-focused global theme park operator Merlin Entertainments; leading water park operator Great Wolf Resorts; leading music rights organization SESAC; a music rights investment partnership with Hipgnosis Song Management; Epidemic Sound, which delivers music to internet content creators across the globe; a significant Hollywood and London studio space real estate portfolio; leading global, online genealogy platform Ancestry.com; and online mobile ad platforms Vungle and Liftoff, among others.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. Moonbug was advised on the transaction by The Raine Group LLC and Latham & Watkins, LLP served as legal advisor. Mayer, Staggs, Blackstone, and their new media company were represented by Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP as legal advisor.

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