Shells out $10 mil for kids TV producer

NEW YORK — Sony Wonder, the children’s and family division of Sony Music, agreed to buy kids TV producer Sunbow Entertainment for roughly $10 million, according to sources close to the deal.

The deal further illustrates how difficult it is for independent producers like the New York-based Sunbow to survive these days.

“It has been tough for smaller companies,” said Ted Green, president of Sony Wonder/SMV. “There has certainly been a lot of consolidation going on in the kids entertainment business.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Sunbow becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Wonder. Green said that C.J. Kettler will continue as president of the company, and Sony Wonder has no plans to change Sunbow’s day-to-day operations.

Sunbow is an independent producer and distributor of children’s, family, teen and young adult programming. The company is currently producing the animated series “Brothers Flub” for Nickelodeon in the U.S. and the U.K. In the preschool market, Sunbow has cleared “Salty’s Lighthouse” on both public broadcasting stations nationally and on the Discovery Channel’s “Ready, Set, Learn” block.

Sony Wonder, which launched in 1993, recently announced a production and distribution agreement with Golden Books to produce, sell and distribute children’s homevideo and audio products. Sony Wonder also distributes “Sesame Street” video and audio.

In an earlier deal, Sony Wonder reached an agreement with Together Again Prods. to develop, co-produce and distribute all new and existing titles from the “Kidsongs” television programs and homevideo, audio and book and tape titles.

“This deal will help define us in people’s minds as a full-service kids entertainment and property company,” Green said about the Sunbow acquisition.

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