Moonbug Entertainment, the company behind the wildly popular children’s show “Cocomelon,” has been acquired by Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ unnamed media venture. Though the terms of the deal were not made public, Bloomberg reports that the pricetag was $3 billion.
This marks the second acquisition for the former Disney execs’ company, which is backed by private equity firm Blackstone Group Inc. In August, Mayer and Staggs purchased Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production banner for $900 million.
Moonbug’s founders, René Rechtman and John Robson, will retain equity stakes in Mayer and Staggs’ company, in addition to Moonbug’s management team.
“We have known René and his innovative team for years, including during our time together at Disney, and they have built a perfect example of the type of category-defining business we are looking to bring into our company,” Mayer and Staggs said in a statement. “They know how to identify and support brands that are beloved by millions of families across the globe. We and our partners at Blackstone look forward to helping expand Moonbug’s portfolio of titles and further extend its franchises across digital platforms and key licensing and merchandising channels.”
Rechtman added: “John and I have built a category-leading, digital-first kids entertainment business based on strong values and content that is focused on digital platforms. Our vision is to build global family franchises, which is wholly aligned with Kevin and Tom’s vision and experience. I have had the pleasure of working with them both earlier in my career and am thrilled to be reunited to build the next global powerhouse of entertainment. You could not find stronger partners in our industry.”
Moonbug’s “Cocomelon” especially took off during the pandemic, becoming a hit in children’s TV once it was added to Netflix in 2020. Featuring baby, adult and animal characters that sing along to various songs and nursery rhymes, the show got its start on YouTube and is currently the most-viewed YouTube channel in the United States.
Moonbug Entertainment was founded by Rechtman and Robson in 2018. The company looks for kid-friendly content on platforms like YouTube and brings them to the worlds of television, film, streaming and merchandise.
Mayer and Staggs were also recently circling Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Inc. entertainment company, but talks of a sale ended in late October, as Variety exclusively reported. Sources noted that it was possible both sides would reevaluate a possible deal in the future, but cited that there was difficulty in placing a valuation on Westbrook, which was established just two years ago.