Canada's DHX Media Acquires 'Teletubbies' Owner Ragdoll for $27.7 Million

Teletubbies H

The British company was previously owned by BBC Worldwide and an investor group that includes company founder Anne Wood.

LONDON – Canadian children's entertainment content firm DHX Media said Monday it has acquired Teletubbies owner Ragdoll Worldwide from BBC Worldwide and an investor group including founder Anne Wood for $27.7 million (17.4 million pounds) in cash.

Ragdoll's flagship properties also include In the Night Garden. Teletubbies has aired in over 120 countries.

Said Michael Donovan, CEO of DHX Media: "Teletubbies and In the Night Garden are worldwide phenomena. These globally recognized brands will be highly complementary to the DHX Media library, which is now one of the largest independent libraries of children's TV content in the world."

He added: "As a leading supplier to subscription video on-demand services worldwide, and as an operator of our own SVOD, we are uniquely positioned to continue to develop these evergreen children's properties in exciting new ways and we also look to maintain a continuing link with Anne Wood, one of the most experienced and passionate producers in the business."

DHX, which also owns such kids TV brands as Inspector Gadget, The Adventures of Paddington Bear, Dennis the Menace, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Heathcliff and Rastamouse, said it expects the transaction to add to its net earnings per share for fiscal year 2014.

With the deal, DHX will add 12 series, including 365 episodes of Teletubbies, 52 episodes of Teletubbies Everywhere and 100 episodes of In the Night Garden, to its content library.

Ragdoll also owns The Adventures of Abney & Teal, which follows the adventures of two rag dolls and which is popular in the U,K., BAFTA award-winning Dipdap, about a drawn character following a drawn line that leads to  various adventures, and Brum, about a remote-controlled car.

Ragdoll was established as a joint venture between BBC Worldwide, the U.K. public broadcaster's commercial arm, and producer Wood's production firm.

Said Wood: "We are confident of their continued success for many years to come." Wood, together with her son Christopher, will continue to manage and operate their own company, Ragdoll Productions.

Said Marcus Arthur, managing director of BBC Worldwide, UK and Australia: "Finding the right new home for these beloved children's properties was incredibly important for BBC Worldwide as we have worked hard over the years with Ragdoll to nurture them and build their popularity and commercial success both in the U.K. and internationally."

Twitter: @georgszalai