"Hilda" by Silvergate Media "Hilda" by Silvergate Media

Earlier this month, Sony Pictures Television (SPT) acquired Silvergate Media, which produces kids’ content. Here are details of the acquisition:

  • SPT has bought the independent media company Silvergate from its management team and the L.A.-based investment firm Shamrock Capital (which acquired 51% of the media company in 2016). The Sony deal is worth approximately $195 million.
  • Silvergate, which is based in London and New York, is known for its high-profile kids’ shows, including underwater-set preschool series Octonauts, Netflix’s Hilda, and Nick Jr.’s Sunny Day. The company was founded in 2011 by Waheed Alli and William Astor. They will stay on as CEO and chairman respectively.
  • As part of the deal, SPT gets 100% of Silvergate Topco, including Silvergate’s 49% interest in a joint venture with China’s Wanda Group, which holds the rights to Octonauts. Sony has also acquired a minority stake in Silvergate BP Bidco Limited, which produces the Peter Rabbit animated series, and will continue to be majority-owned by Alli.
  • China is a key market for Silvergate, which works with a range of licensees and other partners in the country. Notably, it has a longstanding relationship with the public broadcaster CCTV, which co-produced the fifth season of Octonauts.
  • In June, Sony Pictures Animation (SPA) announced that it would expand into series. SPA is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) through its Motion Picture Group division. SPT is also a division of SPE, and its acquisition of Silvergate, together with SPA’s expansion, herald Sony’s efforts to diversify into kids’ content.
  • Mike Hopkins, SPT’s chairman, 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.”
  • Alli said, “We are all excited about joining SPT and the creative teams within the SPT family. 2020 will see a new and strong development slate coming to market with some exciting new series in the pipeline.”

(Image at top: “Hilda.”)

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