LA’s Stampede Ventures and New York private investment firm RedBird Capital Partners have teamed up with kids book author Mo Willems to establish Hidden Pigeon Company (HPC).
This new prodco has offices in LA and New York, and will translate Willems’ catalogue of 50-plus publishing titles into TV, films, games, consumer products and location-based entertainment. His best-known book series include Elephant & Piggie, The Pigeon, Naked Mole Rat and Cat The Cat.
Heading up HPC is CEO Kathy Franklin, the former president of franchise development at LA’s Lightstorm Entertainment, where she led global brand strategy for James Cameron’s Avatar and expanded the franchise into comic books and graphic novels.
Mo Willems’ books have been a hot commodity over the last few years. Stampede and Willems signed an exclusive multi-year deal with HBO Max in 2020 that led to multiple specials, including Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience (2022, pictured) and Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime! (2020).
This is RedBird’s first investment in the kids entertainment space. Founded in 2014, the firm manages more than US$8.6 billion in assets across the sports, transportation and telecommunications sectors. HPC will use the funding from RedBird to build a development pipeline and expand its infrastructure and commercial business activities.
HPC is also publishing books through its Specific House imprint, which already has a deal with Union Square & Co. for two new titles that will hit retail later this year: The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster! and Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Sleigh!.