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Hearst Acquires Majority Stake in Independent Distributor Litton Entertainment

Hearst has taken a majority stake in Litton Entertainment, an independent TV distributor that specializes in children’s programming and family-friendly fare.

Litton, based in Charleston, S.C., has been headed for more than 20 years by president-CEO Dave Morgan, a well-known executive in the syndication and TV station world who worked at Hearst early in his career. Hearst CEO Steve Swartz announced the deal on Friday with Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb.

“We’ve known Dave since the early days of his career with Hearst and have admired the first-class brand of Litton Entertainment that he and his team have built over the years,” Wertlieb said. “Providing quality, family-friendly programming to viewers is an important tenet of Hearst Television and adding Litton’s assets and expertise to our company through this partnership will be a terrific complement to our business.”

The deal is expected to close on Feb. 1. Hearst’s interest in Litton signals Hearst’s interest in stepping up its TV program distribution activity and selling in-house productions from its 30 TV stations in national syndication. Litton brings to the company a well-established sales infrastructure with offices in New York and Burbank.

“Litton provides us with the opportunity to expand our syndication and distribution opportunities by building on the very successful foundation that they have created,” said Emerson Coleman, VP of programming for Hearst Television.

Litton’s program roster includes six hours of educational/informational children’s programs for CBS’ Saturday morning lineup and a three-hour block for CW. It also produces series for NBC’s “The More You Know” educational franchise.

“Litton is built on the standards of excellence I experienced during my time at Hearst,” Morgan said. “I’m coming home to a company that delivers content that positively impacts the community, mirroring the pro-social principles we’ve innovated at Litton.”

Litton was advised in the deal by Richard Gray of ACF Investment Bank.

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