A spokesperson for Chorion has confirmed that its former chairman Waheed Alli, who resigned from the post last month, has purchased The Octonauts and the representation rights to the classic World of Beatrix Potter property and upcoming preschool series The Tales of Peter Rabbit from Chorion through his new company Silvergate Media for an undisclosed sum.
Alli reportedly sold half his £30 million (US$46 million) interest in UK-based online fashion retailer ASOS to help fund Silvergate Media, established earlier this month. The Octonauts debuted on CBeebies in December 2010, while licensed products based on the aquatic-themed preschool series are just rolling out in the UK now. With the Potter properties, Silvergate will now manage the licensing and merchandising rights to The World of Beatrix Potter and the L&M and TV rights to new preschool series The Tales of Peter Rabbit. UK-based publisher Frederick Warne & Co., however, remains the underlying owner of Potter’s literary properties. Peter Rabbit was established as a co-production between Nickelodeon, Chorion and Frederick Warne & Co. last year, and is slated to air on Nickelodeon globally in 2012.
Chorion’s assets, meanwhile, will continue to be sold under the management of DC Advisory Partners, which is acting on behalf of Chorion’s lenders. GE Capital, Bank of Ireland and Lloyds Banking Group forced Chorion to liquidate its holdings on the basis of poor earnings, reported to be £5 million (US$7.67 million) in its last fiscal year, while carrying an estimated £70 million (US$113 million) debt load. Remaining property rights in Chorion’s portfolio include Enid Blyton’s Noddy, Mr. Men and the literary estate of Agatha Christie.
And in other news, The Licensing Letter is reporting that Chorion’s New York-based office is preparing to shut its doors by mid-October and has notified US licensees and other partners of the closure. Chorion’s spokesperson would not comment on the matter.