The home of children’s favourites including Postman Pat and He-Man was yesterday put into administration after efforts to restructure debts and sell the business failed.
Entertainment Rights, which owns rights to other famous names such as Rupert Bear and Casper the Friendly Ghost, was immediately sold by Deloitte to New York-based Boomerang Media.
Deloitte partner Nick Edwards said: “The sale secures the ongoing activities of the group’s trading subsidiaries, allowing the former businesses of Entertainment Rights to survive under new ownership.”
Boomerang Media is a company set up last year specifically to buy intellectual property.
The firm is backed by private equity firm GTCR and run by industry veterans Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman – who sold their Classic Media business to Entertainment Rights for £106.9 million in 2007.
Entertainment Rights chief executive Deborah Dugan said the company was “poised for its next phase of growth” following the sale.
She added: “John and Eric have exceptional track records in entertainment, not to mention a history with most of the company’s leading brands.”
The move is Boomerang’s first major deal and it plans to invest up to $200?million to build up a powerhouse of well-known brands.
Mr Edwards added: “The new owners have indicated their intention to invest in the business to further develop its strong portfolio of intellectual property. Entertainment Rights had been struggling under the weight of its heavy borrowings, which stood at £125?million at the end of last August.
The firm axed a third of its 150 staff in December – and was among a number of firms which have been hit by the collapse of high street chain Woolworths.
The business took an £800,000 hit after Woolworths’ CD and DVD distribution business, Entertainment UK, was put into administration.
EUK was a key distributor for the DVDs and other merchandise produced by the firm based on its TV characters.
The company received a welcome boost last summer when Chinese national television network China Central Television (CCTV) bought 106 episodes of the Postman Pat back catalogue – bringing the character to 200million new children.
The company, which was founded in 1999, has a catalogue boasting more than 3,600 hours of programming.