Kids Studio Chorion To Be Broken Up?

Many companies have tried to make money from kids properties – but the number that manage to do so and hold on to it are few and far between.

The latest company that appears ready to call it quits is Chorion, the owner of Noddy, Mr Men and The Octonauts – not to mention book-based properties such as the Agatha Christie franchise.

Chorion has been around for some time. Occasionally it has looked like it is on the verge of a big breakthrough; for example when it launched a new version of Noddy on Channel Five. Or the time when it moved in and acquired The Mr Men. Now though, the company is finding it hard to service the cost of its numerous IP acquisitions. Unable to renegotiate banking deals to ease its £70m debt burden, the company has decided the only option left is to sell off its key content assets one by one.

How much it might make is anyone”s guess. Unquestionably, it has attractive brands. Aside from those already mentioned, it has Paddington Bear, Enid Blyton’;s Famous Five, the estate of writer Raymond Chandler and The World of Beatrix Potter.

The problem is that it”s increasingly difficult to make money out of assets like these without guaranteed broadcast exposure, which in turn leads to interest from retailers. For this reason, the number of likely bidders will probably be quite small. While it”s tempting to think that a company like E1, owner of Peppa Pig, might be interested, the reality is that the most likely buyers are Disney, Viacom, Hasbro and Turner – all of which have international kids channel businesses to run. For these companies, Chorion”s brand would have value as TV properties – even if they don”t go on to be breakout hits in licensing and merchandising.

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