LA equity group buys Octonauts prodco

Kids-logo-460_2The OctonautsAn LA-based private equity firm has acquired a majority stake in Octonauts producer Silvergate Media for an undisclosed amount.

Shamrock Capital Advisors plans to expand Silvergate’s IP, library rights and digital capabilities, as well as its Chinese operations.

The deal has been touted as the most significant in the children’s IP space since Canada’s 9 Story Media Group acquired Ireland’s Brown Bag Films last year.

Silvergate founders Waheed Alli and William Astor will remain as CEO and chairman respectively following the investment. They co-created the company in 2011 after buying the rights to preschool series Octonauts and The World of Beatrix Potter from Alli’s former firm, Chorion, which subsequently wound down.

Octonauts is currently in its fourth season, with a fifth in development with China’s CCTV; while a newer property, Sunny Day, is set to air on Nickelodeon in 2017. Silvergate, which has bases in London and New York, also has programmes in development at Disney, YouTube and Netflix.

“Silvergate has developed a unique set of kids’ properties with significant upside potential,” said Shamrock’s William Wynperle. “We look forward to working with Waheed, William and their team to build on Silvergate’s track record of creating the highest quality content for the children’s market.”

Shamrock, meanwhile, traces its roots to the family investment company of the late Roy E. Disney, the Walt Disney Company exec best known for ousting former Mouse House CEOs Ron Miller (in 1984) and Michael Eisner (in 2005). It is known in LA as a long-time media investor.

“Having just completed another year of strong growth and portfolio development, we are excited to be partnering with Shamrock,” Alli said. “They have a tremendous track record of investing in media and entertainment businesses and truly understand the value of generating great content, given their extensive experience in the sector and unique heritage.

“We have made excellent progress this year globally with Octonauts and more recently Sunny Day. We are also accelerating the growth of our portfolio with the development of brand new children’s programmes for partners including Disney, Nickelodeon and Netflix.

“The support of Shamrock will enable us to expand the business faster through further organic growth as well as by acquisitions.”