German co. acquires 2,000-title library

CANNES — German companies’ pivotal role in the consolidation of the worldwide kidvid biz was demonstrated again Monday as local player TV Loonland acquired Sony Wonder’s production and distribution businesses.

The $20.5 million deal included Sony Wonder’s 2000 title library and subsidiary Sunbow Prods. Sony Wonder will retain its brand name as well as its core homevideo and audio distribution operations.

Sunbow was purchased at a time when Sony Wonder wanted to expand beyond video and audio into TV.

Decisions have yet to be made on which personnel will stay and which will go to TV Loonland, which went public earlier this year. Details on the deal still have to be finalized, but may include a first-look distribution agreement.

All part of the plan

“The Sony deal is part of a well-thought-out strategy that we think makes sense,” TV Loonland president and CEO Peter Volckle told Daily Variety. “We are now covered in the U.S., Latin American and European markets.”

TV Loonland last week acquired Salsa Distribution, the biggest European-based Latin America-oriented kidvid company.

Together, the two purchases give TV Loonland a hold on the kidvid biz across the Americas. TV Loonland will take advantage of Sony Wonder’s video infrastructure to distribute product Stateside as well as of its international audio distribution networks.

Teutonic drive

The Sony Wonder deal is part of an aggressive drive by German players to expand into the international market place on the back of IPO coin.

“There’s going to be more consolidation and more such deals,” Nadia Nardonnet, head of rival BKNI, predicted Monday from one of a series of German kidvidder yachts filling the Cannes harbor at Mipcom. “I think it’s only the globally focused ones that will survive. And that’s what this is about.”

The Jim Henson Co., the U.K.’s Telemagination, Australian toon makers Yoram Gross and Energee Entertainment, Gaul’s Arles Animation and Gotham-based Good Times Entertainment have all recently been acquired by Teutonic players.

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