Endemol Shine Buys Controlling Stake in 'Simon's Cat' Producer

Simon Tofield and Simon's Cat

The animated digital series has racked up more than 650 million views on YouTube.

Endemol Shine UK has acquired a controlling stake in Simon's Cat, the London-based animation production outfit behind the hit digital comedy series of the same name.

Founded in 2008 by illustrator, animator and director Simon Tofield, Simon's Cat episodes have been viewed some 650 million times online. The Simon's Cat YouTube channel boasts 3.5 million subscribers.

Financial details weren't disclosed.

The deal will see Endemol Shine integrate the Simon's Cat series into its Endemol Beyond premium channel and distribution network as well as explore ways to expand the property onto linear TV, merchandising, publishing and licensing markets. 

"Simon’s Cat is a brilliant example of how an original brand created on YouTube can reach and delight huge audiences," said Laurence Jones, commercial director at Endemol Shine UK. "Millions of fans around the world love the mischievous and funny Simon’s Cat and there is enormous potential for growth, whilst staying true to the brand."

The tales of a fat white cat and his long-suffering owner have been a viral hit since Tofield's first film Can Man Do went up on YouTube. The company raised money via crowdfunding for its first-ever color animation, the 13-minute Off to the Vet.

"Endemol Shine Group has a fantastic reputation and a world-class premium channel network in Endemol Beyond," said Tofield. "We’re looking forward to the next step of our relationship with the company and collaborating with the creative and commercial teams."

Endemol Shine has been actively gobbling up production outfits and signing talent deals in a bid to further boost its portfolio of television and digital properties.

In the U.S., Endemol Shine recently signed an exclusive multiplatform deal with Justin Hochberg and his Just Entertainment Studio, creator of CNBC's The Profit and The Great Escape for TNT, as well as a mega deal with Ryan Seacrest Productions' unscripted division.

Endemol Shine UK and Simon’s Cat were advised on the investment by United Agents.

Twitter: @sroxborough