ER buys stake in Express papers

World Brief

Classic children’s character Rupert the Bear will soon rub shoulders with Postman Pat, Basil Brush and He-Man after U.K.’s Entertainment Rights bought a controlling stake from Express Newspapers in a deal valued at £6 million ($10.6 million).

Express Newspapers will retain 33% stake in “Rupert the Bear,” which first appeared as a comicstrip 85 years ago.

With a new animated TV series already in development, ER is hoping to repeat the success of classics “Postman Pat,” which was picked up by HBO in the U.S. and Disney Channel in Japan earlier this year.

Company has also acquired licensing and merchandising, publishing, live events and new media rights to “Rupert,” and is planning a full consumer products campaign and DVD release for the brand.

Better known in the U.K. than in the U.S., “Rupert” has sold 50 million annuals worldwide, and an animated series was produced by Canadian studio Nelvana in the early 1990s.

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