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Peppa Pig Owner Seeks Acuisitions to Expand Child Range

Entertainment One Ltd. which owns rights to cartoon characters Peppa Pig, and Ben and Holly, is seeking to add to its stable of children’s offerings after cancelling plans to sell its business this year.

“Peppa is an anchor, and we have no intention of selling it, but rather we want to use it to take additional family brands,” Chief Executive Officer Darren Throop said in a phone interview today.

Entertainment One, based in Toronto, may spend $225 million or more on an acquisition, Throop said. The company now plans to expand in film, television and children’s properties organically and through acquisitions, Throop said. In February, it ended plans for a sale after offers didn’t meet expectations.

Aside from Peppa, one of the most popular cartoons for U.K. preschoolers, the company distributes films including the “Twilight” vampire franchise and produces TV shows including the “Rookie Blue” police show. In September, the company agreed to pay C$225 million ($225 million) for Canadian film distributor Alliance Films, which owns rights to movies including “The King’s Speech” and “The Hunger Games.”

“There are a lot of things to buy out there and we still have aspirations to expand our territorial and geographic footprint,” Throop said, citing opportunities in Europe and Latin America as well as for individual children’s characters.

Entertainment One today said first-half revenue rose 7.8 percent to 220.5 million pounds ($350 million) while underlying earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization fell to 13.4 million pounds from 23.6 million pounds.

Entertainment One also expects revenue from “The Hunger Games” franchise and from a distribution deal with Dreamworks Studios to counter any effects from the end of the “Twilight” series, Throop said. The last installment of “Twilight” opens in theaters this year.

The company’s shares fell 1.8 percent to 167 pence as of 2:20 p.m. in London trading.

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