Chorion strikes 10m deal to extend TV character portfolio

Chorion, the entertainment content company that owns the rights to Noddy and the Mr Men, has acquired the rights to license more classic children’s characters including Paddington Bear and The Snowman.

In a deal thought to be worth between £5m and £10m, Chorion, backed by private equity from 3i, has purchased The Copyrights Group. In addition to Paddington and The Snowman, Copyrights’ portfolio of brands includes the Beatrix Potter characters and Flower Fairies as well as lifestyle brands Rough Guides and Marie Claire.

Chorion says it is in the process of investigating and developing marketing opportunities for the newly acquired properties. It is thought to be keen to exploit the brands in overseas markets including North America and Japan.

Managing director Jane Turner says the addition of the licensing and merchandising of “globally-recognised” British institutions Paddington Bear and Beatrix Potter to its portfolio means that global manufacturers, broadcasters and publishers will “instantly recognise their value.”

Chorion, run by Labour peer Lord Alli, is planning the international launch of two new television series featuring Mr Men and Enid Blyton’s Famous Five.

However, its plans to update many of the Mr Men characters, bought from the family of creator Roger Hargreaves for £28m in 2004, recently caused controversy.

Newly acquired character Paddington also arrives under a cloud. The bear was accused of “selling out” after ditching his beloved marmalade sandwiches in favour of Marmite for a television ad created by DDB London.

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