Moonbug Acquired by Media Company

The children’s entertainment company Moonbug is under new ownership.
License Global

November 4, 2021

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Moonbug Entertainment, the digital-first, global children’s entertainment company, has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by the recently formed media company run by entertainment executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs and backed by investment capital from Blackstone.

Moonbug’s founders, chief executive officer René Rechtman and chief operating officer John Robson, and existing management team and shareholders, will retain equity stakes in the Mayer-Staggs-Blackstone-backed media company.

Founded in 2018, Moonbug has rapidly built a global family audience through its shows such as “CoComelon,” “Blippi” and “Little Baby Bum” among others. Their content appears in 27 languages on more than 100 platforms around the world such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon and Sky.

“John and I have built a category-leading, digital-first kids entertainment business based on strong values and content that is focused on digital platforms,” says Rechtman. “Our vision is to

build global family franchises, which is wholly aligned with Kevin and Tom’s vision and experience. I have had the pleasure of working with them both earlier in my career and am thrilled to be reunited to build the next global powerhouse of entertainment. You could not find stronger partners in our industry.”

This marks the second acquisition for Mayer and Staggs’ new media company backed by Blackstone, following the acquisition of Hello Sunshine, founded by Reese Witherspoon.

“We have known René and his innovative team for years, including during our time together at Disney, and they have built a perfect example of the type of category-defining business we are looking to bring into our company,” says Mayer and Staggs in a joint statement. “They know how to identify and support brands that are beloved by millions of families across the globe. We and our partners at Blackstone look forward to helping expand Moonbug’s portfolio of titles and further extend its franchises across digital platforms and key licensing and merchandising channels.”

Blackstone’s investment is being made through funds affiliated with the firm’s flagship private equity business. The firm has made a range of entertainment, digital and content-focused investments across its businesses, including children-focused global theme park operator Merlin Entertainments; water park operator Great Wolf Resorts; music rights organization SESAC; a music rights investment partnership with Hipgnosis Song Management; Epidemic Sound, which delivers music to internet content creators across the globe; a Hollywood and London studio space real estate portfolio; global, online genealogy platform Ancestry.com; and online mobile ad platforms Vungle and Liftoff, among others.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Moonbug was advised on the transaction by The Raine Group and Latham & Watkins, served as legal advisor. Mayer, Staggs, Blackstone, and their new media company were represented by Goldman Sachs & Co. as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis as legal advisor.

“We are thrilled to partner with René, John, and the impressive Moonbug team,” says Joe Baratta, global head, private equity, Blackstone, and David Kestnbaum, senior managing director, Blackstone in a joint statement. “They deeply understand the fast-changing digital media environment and have rapidly established Moonbug as a digital-native powerhouse in children’s entertainment. We are excited to help fuel their continued expansion in the years ahead.”

 

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