STUDIOCANAL is pleased to announce the acquisition of Paddington and Company Limited which owns all the intellectual property rights apart from publishing rights in Michael Bond’s classic children’s character Paddington Bear. At the same time STUDIOCANAL have acquired The Copyrights Group Limited which acts as merchandise licensing agent for Paddington Bear, as well as representing several other famous literary properties.
By these acquisitions STUDIOCANAL takes full ownership of the PADDINGTON brand worldwide, including such activities as live entertainment, video games and theme parks.
Strong and internationally recognised brands such as PADDINGTON BEAR are a key driver in the development of STUDIOCANAL and its parent companies CANAL Group/Vivendi, a global leader in the creation and distribution of quality content reflecting European culture.
In addition to STUDIOCANAL’s expertise in film and television production, PADDINGTON will benefit from the Group’s wide range of assets, especially in the live show and concerts business (via Universal Music Group and Vivendi Village) and video games (Gameloft).
Created by Michael Bond CBE in 1958, Paddington Bear is one of the most famous and best-loved children’s book characters with countless fans all over the world. Over 35 million books have been sold worldwide in more than 40 languages and over 25 million people own a Paddington soft toy. The Paddington Movie was the most successful family film ever released outside of Hollywood and Paddington ranks in the top 5 of the most influential family entertainment brands*.
Karen Jankel, owner and Managing Director of Paddington and Company Limited commented: “Paddington has been a very important part of my life since the publication of my father’s first book, A Bear Called Paddington, exactly two months after I was born. I joined Paddington and Company thirty-five years ago and took on the role of Managing Director a short while later. When Paddington made his big screen debut at the end of 2014, his popularity grew to a whole new level and it was at that point that I realised the time had come to think about the future of the business.
For our family this is about so much more than selling a company but, as STUDIOCANAL have already proved with the wonderful first film, they are more than capable of looking after Paddington. So we couldn’t be more delighted that it is they who will be taking on the mantle of his guardianship and I feel confident that he will be in a very safe pair of paws.”
Karen Jankel will be retaining a consultancy role on the future creative development of the brand in association with the team at The Copyrights Group Limited who have represented Paddington since 1984. Michael Bond will also continue to work closely with STUDIOCANAL as regards the publishing rights which he retains. Harvey Unna and Stephen Durbridge (1975) Limited, which has represented all of the media rights in Paddington for the last 40 years is also part of the Studiocanal acquisition.
Didier Lupfer, CEO of STUDIOCANAL, commented: “We are particularly proud and happy that Michael Bond, Karen Jankel and their family have chosen to trust us with Paddington Bear, who will be welcomed at STUDIOCANAL as one of our family. We have maintained a very close relationship with them since the release of the first film, which was one of the highlights of STUDIOCANAL’s recent development. Following this success, we shall continue to develop Paddington, who is already a familiar feature in millions of homes worldwide. This will start with a second chapter of Paddington’s movie adventures, the shooting of which is to start this autumn. Beyond cinema, Paddington will benefit from the full strength of a media and entertainment group of Vivendi’s size, with a presence in television, music, live entertainment, video games and the digital world. Paddington is a 58 year old classic brand, and we shall continue to make it grow still further.”
The PADDINGTON movie, released in 2014, was STUDIOCANAL’s biggest success with a global box office of close to 300 million dollars. The production of PADDINGTON 2 is to start in October, to be released late 2017.
Nicholas Durbridge Chairman of The Copyrights Group Limited commented: “I am delighted that Copyrights has become part of the STUDIOCANAL group of companies. Their international network will benefit not only the licensing of Paddington Bear but also the other classic brands that Copyrights represents including Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman, Father Christmas and Fungus the Bogeyman characters and The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady”
The Sellers were represented in the sale by ACF Investment Bank and Charles Russell Speechlys. STUDIOCANAL was represented by Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.
*Source – www.licensing.biz the most influential brands in licensing 2015: Character/Entertainment
STUDIOCANAL is Europe’s leader in production, rights acquisition, distribution and international sales of feature films and TV series. STUDIOCANAL operates directly in all three major European markets, France, the United Kingdom and Germany, as well as in Australia and New Zealand. STUDIOCANAL has fully-financed recent box office hits like Paddington, Shaun the Sheep and Non-Stop. Upcoming films backed by STUDIOCANAL include The Commuter featuring Liam Neeson, and Nick Park's stop-motion movie Early Man, with Aardman Studios. STUDIOCANAL is actively developing and distributing high-end TV series through its network of award-winning production companies including Tandem Productions in Germany (Crossing Lines, Spotless), the UK’s RED Production Company (Happy Valley) and BAMBÚ PRODUCCIONES (Grand Hotel, Velvet). Additionally, STUDIOCANAL owns one of the most important film libraries in the world, with more than 5,000 international titles. STUDIOCANAL’s parent company, CANAL+ Group, is fully-owned by Vivendi, a global media and content production and distribution group.
ABOUT PADDINGTON BEAR
For almost 60 years, British-born writer Michael Bond has been entertaining children and families all over the world with his stories about Paddington, the bear from Darkest Peru famous for his love of marmalade. Since the first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was published by HarperCollins in 1958, a further 13 full-length novels and countless other formats have been published. Paddington’s adventures have been adapted several times for television and at the end of 2014 Paddington made his debut onto the big screen. A second Paddington movie, Paddington 2, is set to launch November, 2017. In recognition of Paddington’s extraordinary popularity and success, Michael Bond was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) from the Queen for services to children’s literature in 1997 and a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2015.
Today, there are over 150 titles available in 40 languages and more than 100 countries with book sales in excess of 35 million. The Paddington DVD was the fastest and strongest selling DVD of 2015 in the UK. Paddington has a growing online presence with over 600,000 Facebook fans and over 20,000 Twitter followers.
Follow Paddington on Twitter at @paddingtonbear
Like Paddington’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PaddingtonBear/
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