Sony Pictures TV Buying Silvergate Media for $195M in Kids Animation Push

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Kids shows have become one of the most important genres on new direct-to-consumer platforms.

Sony Pictures Television has agreed to buy children’s animation studio Silvergate Media, in a deal that values the company at around $195 million.

Silvergate’s biggest show is the Netflix and BBC animated series Octonauts, and it also produces Sunny Day for Nickelodeon and Hilda for Netflix, among others.

Silvergate will continue to be managed by CEO Waheed Alli and William Astor will continue as chairman. Sony is acquiring the company from its management team and from the L.A.-based investment firm Shamrock Capital.

In addition to the studio, Sony will be acquiring Silvergate’s 49 percent interest in a joint venture with Beijing-based Wanda Group, which controls the rights to the Octonauts franchise. Sony also acquired a minority stake in Silvergate BP Bidco Limited, which produces the Peter Rabbit TV series, and which will remain controlled by Alli.

In a statement, the company said the deal “underlines SPT’s strategy of diversifying its studio business and growing key genres” by expanding its presence in the lucrative children’s programming space. Specifically, the deal marks a significant expansion into the children’s animation genre.

Sony Pictures TV chairman Mike Hopkins said the acquisition will be a “building block to expand into this genre in a meaningful way.”

Without a streaming service of its own, Sony has embarked on a strategy of selling content to all potential buyers, including linear TV channels and streaming services. Kids shows have become one of the most important genres on new direct-to-consumer platforms.