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Studio 100 buys EM.Entertainment for €41m

Belgian based kids entertainment company Studio 100 has picked up the kids business belonging to Germany’s EM.Sport Media in a €41m ($64m) deal.

The deal covers a range of assets including the 9,500-hour kids programming catalogue, the Junior TV pay TV channel, Australian producer Flying Bark, a 22.8% stake in interactive kids network Kabillion and a minority share in Planete Junior, the entity that handles licensing of EM.Entertainment products in Italy and Spain. The EM.Entertainment brand will be fully phased out by 2009.

The German company announced plans to offload the EM.Entertainment business last May but could not conclude a deal at the original asking price. In January it slashed its valuation of the business from about €90 million to about €40 million, citing weakness in demand for licensed kids products.

Indian media giant Zee had been linked to a move for the company, but Studio 100 sealed a deal last night (May 28). The agreement now needs approval from the antitrust and media concentration boards.

"The deal makes us more international," Studio 100 business development director Jo Daris told TBIvision. "It will allow us t exploit the EM.Entertainment brands in the way we already do with our own properties in the Benelux."

As well as making and distributing TV shows, Studio 100 runs theme parks and numerous live events in the Benelux region. The EM.Entertainment catalogue and business contains numerous well known kids brands including Staines Down Drains, Maya the Bee and Dive Olly Dive.

Studio 100 has been aggressively expanding its international business since 2007. Already a force in the Benelux region, it set up Munich-based Studio 100 Media last year, which is headed by ex-EM.Entertainment sales boss Patrick Elmendorff. Studio 100 was already handling sales of EM.Entertainment programming on an interim basis.