NBCU Takes Control of KidsCo
NBCUniversal International has taken a controlling stake in global children’s channel KidsCo. The deal, according to a report by C21 Media, will see NBCUI own a 51 percent share of KidsCo, with Corus Entertainment increasing its stake to 43.8 percent and previous joint-venture partner, Cookie Jar, exiting.
Toronto-based Cookie Jar will, however, continue to produce programming for KidsCo as part of a new multi-year content licensing agreement.
C21 reported in November that NBCUI was seeking majority control of the venture, looking to buy out Cookie Jar. This came as KidsCo CEO and co-founder Paul Robinson exited. He has since resurfaced with ex-DIC Entertainment boss Andy Heyward’s part-Indian joint-venture, A Squared Elxsi Entertainment.
DIC was among the original founders of KidsCo in 2007, and was bought out by Cookie Jar for $87.6 million a year later, handing it the stake in the channel, alongside Corus and NBCU. The latter acquired its KidsCo interest through the $350 million buy-out of the other original founder, Sparrowhawk Media.
Financial terms of today’s confirmed deal were not disclosed. Robinson, who established KidsCo together with Chris Borde, retains a 3.3 percent stake, with Borde holding the remaining 1.9 percent.
Former NBCU business development executive Hendrik McDermott, who was installed as KidsCo interim MD following Robinson’s exit, takes up the post permanently as part of the new set-up.
“We see a very bright future for children’s television internationally and believe our highly valued partnership with Corus well positions KidsCo to compete strongly in this market,” said NBCU president of international television Kevin MacLellan. “Hendrik will provide clear operational leadership and will be focused on implementing innovative strategic and technical opportunities to grow the content and distribution base of the company.”