Peppa Pig creators in the pink after sale of animation firm

She’s a small pink pig who likes jumping in mud puddles but yesterday she brought home the bacon.

Peppa Pig, universally loved by under-5s, has netted £47m (€63.5m) each for her creators.

Already a childhood favourite in more than 180 countries, the cartoon pig is set to become an even bigger phenomenon.

The creators of the television show, Mark Baker, Neville Astley, and Phil Davies have gone from animation graduates at Middlesex Polytechnic in the 1980s to creating a global franchise worth £660m (€890m).

Now the trio have made £47m each from a deal in which a 70% stake in their animation company has sold to international distributors Entertainment One.

Entertainment One will take a 70% stake in Astley Baker Davies (ABD), which co-owns the rights to Peppa Pig, and has increased its control of the rights to the franchise to 85% in a deal worth £140m.

Entertainment One, which distributes shows including The Walking Dead and films such as the Twilight and Hunger Games series, has built Peppa Pig into a global TV and merchandise franchise.

It is funding the deal through a £195m rights issue. Giles Willits, chief financial officer, said the company needed to take control of Peppa Pig to drive the brand to $2bn in global sales.

“We were looking very much to ensure we had control over the Peppa Pig property going forward,” he said.

“We think this is a property that can double in size over the next five years. We took $1bn in retail sales around the world through the brand last year. We think that can go to $2bn in five years. Peppa Pig is too big of an asset to not control it completely.”

As part of the deal creators, Baker, Astley, and Davies, are to produce an additional 52 episodes of Peppa Pig.

At the 2011 BAFTAs: Harley Bird (the voice of Peppa Pig who also won a BAFTA that year) and left to right Mark Baker (co-creator), Phil Davies (producer) and Neville Astley (co-creator)
At the 2011 BAFTAs: Harley Bird (the voice of Peppa Pig who also won a BAFTA that year) and left to right Mark Baker (co-creator), Phil Davies (producer) and Neville Astley (co-creator)

Peppa Pig follows the adventures of the eponymous little pink pig along with her family and friends. Each of her friends is a different kind of animal. Although they are humanlike in many ways, the characters still display characteristics of their species, such as the rabbit family being fixated with carrots.

The creators, Baker, Astley, and Davies, who became friends working in the animation department of Middlesex Polytechnic in the mid-1980s, are already multi-millionaires thanks to receiving royalties since striking the co-ownership deal with Entertainment One in 2004.

Astley and Baker, who taught at the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield alongside Nick Park, the creator of Wallace and Gromit, teamed up in the 1990s and Peppa Pig was born in 1999.

Peppa Pig was produced at The Elf Factory — and the cartoon initially proved tough to commission.

As the sole owners of ABD, the trio will split the £140m payout selling the 70% stake.

In addition they each continue to hold a 5% sliver of the increasingly large annual Peppa Pig royalty payments.


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