Moonbug Entertainment Acquires YouTube Sensations CoComelon and Blippi to Become World’s Largest Digital Kids Media Company
Moonbug looks to invest in both brands’ growth and transform the content into global brands with new characters, merchandise and licensing
Additionally, Moonbug Entertainment has raised $120 million in a funding round to support growth and acquisitions led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity (GS Growth) and Fertitta Capital. Existing investors, The Raine Group and Felix Capital, participated
LONDON, July 30, 2020 Moonbug Entertainment Ltd. has acquired two of the world’s most successful kids programs to become the world’s largest digital kids media company. CoComelon, the world’s most-viewed YouTube channel with over 3.5 billion average monthly views, is about relatable family experiences that help kids constructively interact with daily routines–making parents’ lives easier. Blippi is a live-action program that has struck a chord with parents and kids through its engaging, inspiring and accessible educational content, successful toy line, and sell out live shows in the United States—and more than half a billion average monthly views.
“It is a tremendous accomplishment to acquire two of the world’s most loved children’s shows. We are excited to support their continued growth and expand the brands into global entertainment franchises,” said Renè Rechtman, co-founder and CEO. “It is a transformational step for our business.”
Moonbug has built new relationships with 100+ streaming platforms on a local and global scale including Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Sky and Roku and has category-leading viewership on YouTube and Amazon Prime Video. The acquisition of CoComelon and Blippi boost Moonbug’s monthly subscribers to over 235 million globally, exceeding 7 billion average monthly views on YouTube alone.
Moonbug’s model entails acquiring IP with global potential, rapidly scaling the brand utilizing data to increase and enhance the content, distributing broadly across Moonbug’s vast global distribution network, and growing the brands beyond the content into licensing and merchandising, original productions and brand partnerships.
CoComelon is a kids 3D animation show that has become the world’s most watched YouTube channel, with over 3.5 billion monthly views, not including its category-leading viewership on Netflix. Known for their infectious positivity, Baby JJ and his siblings go about everyday activities and chores with enthusiasm and a sense of fun to help inspire kids at home to do the same. Characters sing catchy songs that model how to constructively interact with the world around them, from cleaning up their toys, to getting ready for bed and eating their vegetables every night.
“At CoComelon we’ve tried to create characters that are adorable, likeable and universally relatable. We think of JJ, YoYo, and TomTom as our imaginary kids, and over time, we built a family around them – parents, grandparents, animal friends, school classmates,” says Jay Jeon, creator of CoComelon. “And we think a lot about our audience and what they’re going through: growing up, daily challenges, learning new things. Life! We hope they share experiences similar to those of our characters.”
Following its proven strategy, Moonbug plans to also add new characters and storylines that continue CoComelon’s message of joy and positivity, while also introducing new merchandise and toys so families can engage with their favorite characters and themes in new ways. Moonbug will apply its model to grow the show’s already massive reach through new licensing deals and expanding its distribution globally in new languages and on new platforms. It plans to launch a new toy line imminently that will be available to consumers in the coming weeks.
Blippi adds a live-action show to Moonbug’s portfolio that explores the world as seen through the eyes of a child. Tapping into children’s natural curiosity he takes them on a journey of discovery, allowing them to see the world through an educational lens–entertaining along the way. He is a tour guide for doing all the things a toddler wants to do.
Blippi’s educational content has translated to a deep connection with his audience and a loyal following of more than 24 million subscribers and 570 million average monthly views.
“Blippi is the most unique and entertaining educational children’s show out there and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Moonbug family,” said Rechtman. “More than any other show, Blippi has engaged kids and families through his contagious, child-like curiosity and by taking them places they might not otherwise go – he makes learning fun.”
As Blippi transitions to a global program, the spirit behind the show won’t change, but families can expect more episodes exploring more storylines across more platforms. Moonbug will also diversify the show with new characters to help it transport more kids to more places as they explore new educational topics. True to its model, it will also expand its successful line of toys, along with apparel and licensing partnerships. All changes will begin taking effect this year, with the goal of transforming Blippi into the biggest, most accessible presenter-led show globally.
The $120 million financing round led by Growth Equity (GS Growth), part of Goldman Sachs’ Merchant Banking Division, and Fertitta Capital. The Raine Group and Felix Capital participated. Funds will be used for growth and to make additional acquisitions in the continued drive by Moonbug to consolidate the most interesting and popular properties in the kids space.
“We are excited to back Renè, John, and the rest of the Moonbug team as they continue creating the next generation of kids content. Their strong diversified asset portfolio combined with their creative capabilities and platform reach make them a true category leader within the global entertainment industry,” said Nishi Somaiya, Partner at Goldman Sachs, who will join Moonbug’s board of directors.
“We are grateful for the investment from our investors, new and existing,” said Renè Rechtman. “Seeing Moonbug achieve this level of growth to become the world leader in digital kids’ content within two years is a true testament of our and our investors’ dedication to the space. We look forward to the continued success that’s to come through new and existing brands.”
Moonbug is an award-winning global entertainment company providing values-based educational programming for children. Since launching two years ago, Moonbug has built new relationships with 100+ streaming platforms globally including Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Sky and Roku and has category-leading viewership on YouTube and Amazon Prime Video. The Moonbug portfolio now includes 18 IPs, representing 550+ hours of content across 26 languages. The company’s YouTube channels alone are viewed 7 billion times on average every month, across 230+ territories.
About Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division
Founded in 1869, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm. Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division (MBD) is the primary center for the firm’s long-term principal investing activity. MBD is one of the leading private capital investors in the world with investments across private equity, infrastructure, private debt, growth equity and real estate.
About Fertitta Capital
Fertitta Capital was formed in 2017 by Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta III as the direct investment platform of the Fertitta family. Fertitta Capital targets investments in the Media, Entertainment, and Consumer sectors including content creation and distribution, health & wellness, sports, consumer/retail, gaming, live events, music and operationally intensive real estate.
Raine Advisors acted as exclusive financial advisor and Latham & Watkins acted as legal advisor on both the capital raise and the CoComelon transaction.