A Singapore-listed private equity group is buying the Australian children’s entertainment franchise Hi-5 from the Nine Network Australia and Southern Star Entertainment for an “undisclosed sum”.
Asiasons is buying Hi-5 through its $US250 million Dragonrider Opportunity II fund.
Hi-5 consists of a cast of five – Stevie, Casey, Dayen, Lauren and Tim – and is one of the top three pre-school television shows in Australia.
It is estimated, in an average week, Hi-5 reaches a global audience of one million children.
The 100% acquisition of Hi-5 by Asiasons Group includes its total ownership encompassing production, licensing, touring and merchandising rights.
Datuk Jared Lim, managing director of Asiasons, said the firm’s regional presence in Asia complemented plans of expanding Hi-5 further into Asia.
“We are committed to deliver high quality production combined with content that provides sheer delight to our audiences, not only in Australia, but also to the rest of the world,” said Lim.
“To ensure that the core values of Hi-5 are upheld and expanded, Asiasons Group has hired an Australian team including series producer Julie Greene and general manager Mel Rogan, who have been with the brand for over seven years and three years respectively.”
Lim said Hi-5 will continue to maintain its presence in Australia.
The acquisition of Hi-5 follows Asiasons recent investment of a 67% stake in EMS Holdings, one of the leading entertainment exhibitors in the world.
Lim said Asiasons is particularly interested in companies with a minimum of three times growth potential.
“In view of this, we place great importance in choosing partners who share similar goals and vision to expand their footprint in the Asia Pacific region,” says Lim.
“EMS Entertainment fits the profile as well as Hi-5. With the acquisition of Hi-5 and investment in EMS Entertainment, we are excited about the prospects, as they can tap on the growing demand for entertainment consumption in the Asia Pacific market.”
Asiasons’ move into entertainment signals a change of tack for the private equity group, with its previous investments focusing on dining operators such as TGI Friday’s, funeral company Nirvana, and gold mining company Liongold.
Nine Network Australia and Southern Star Entertainment were contacted by SmartCompany for comment but they failed to respond prior to publication.