Chorion, which owns such brands as Mr. Men, Noddy, Paddington Bear and The Snowman, is to see its popular assets sold off due to mounting debts.
The company describe itself as a leading global media company that owns, manages and develops quality family entertainment brands with worldwide appeal. With the rights to the back catalogue of authors such as Agatha Christie and Enid Blyton the company hope to alleviate their £70m debt.
Senior lenders to Chorion, including Lloyds, GE Capital and the Bank of Ireland, have decided that the business should be broken up and its collections sold off. The decision comes after a failed attempt to save the company by its chairman, Labour peer, Lord Alli and William Astor, the deputy chairman. The pair have since handed in their resignations.
DC Advisory Partners have been hired to oversee the sell-off of brands including Ladybird books and Beatrix Potter. In 2006 the company’s value was £111 million.
Alli was one of the founders of Planet 24, alongside Charlie Parsons and Bob Geldof, which devised The Big Breakfast and The Word for Channel 4. When Planet 24 was taken over by Carlton Television Alli moved over to the ITV broadcaster in a senior management role which saw him try to resurrect ATV soap opera Crossroads. He left Carlton in 2001 however later returned to the commercial network as a non-executive director of STV, the ITV broadcaster for Scotland. He quit STV in 2008 to concentrate on his other business interests, which included Chorion, a shareholder of production company Shine Television, a director on the board of Paul O’Grady’s Olga Productions and chairman of online retailer Asos.