Little Baby Bum Little Baby Bum

UPDATE (Nov 5, 2 a.m. PT): It’s official: Mayer and Stagg’s Blackstone-backed company will purchase Moonbug. The valuation of the deal was not confirmed. Moonbug founders René Rechtman (CEO) and John Robson (COO), as well as existing management team and shareholders, will retain equity stakes in the company, which is as yet unnamed. The headline has been updated accordingly.

Earlier (Nov 4, 8:30 a.m. PT): Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, two former high-ranking Disney executives, are nearing a deal to buy kids’ entertainment company Moonbug Entertainment for around $3 billion, sources close to the negotiations have told The Information.

The pair launched a company backed by private-equity firm Blackstone Group earlier this year, then bought Reese Witherspoon’s studio Hello Sunshine for approximately $900 million. Moonbug would be their second big purchase, but the sources note that the deal could still fall apart.

Moonbug has made a business out of acquiring “fun and safe content” for preschoolers and building these properties up. Its shows end up on major streaming platforms, from Netflix to Hulu. Some of its content ranks among the most-subscribed animation channels on Youtube, with Cocomelon (118 million subscribers) and Little Baby Bum (36.9 million) coming first and seventh in our recent chart.

The company was founded in 2018 by René Rechtman, another Disney veteran, and John Robson. It is headquartered in London and L.A. A $3B price tag would be hefty: The Information calculates that it equates to around 15 times next year’s expected profit.

Mayer was formerly chairman of direct-to-consumer and international at Disney, where he orchestrated the launch of Disney+. Staggs was chief operating officer at the company. Both were considered likely candidates to succeed Bob Iger as Disney CEO; both were passed over. Mayer then had a brief stint as Tiktok CEO, and is now chairman of DAZN Group.

In other news, Discovery has hired Mayer as a consultant ahead of its merger with Warnermedia, which is due to close next year, pending regulatory approval. Mayer will help shape the company’s streaming offering. Discovery CEO David Zaslav called Mayer “an old friend” with a “good brain,” but added that Mayer won’t join as a full-time executive.

Latest News from Cartoon Brew