Fox Corp. on Tuesday said it has acquired Bento Box Entertainment, the animation studio behind the popular sitcom “Bob’s Burgers.”
It is the first acquisition of an entertainment property for the slimmed-down Fox since controlling shareholder Rupert Murdoch sold much of the Fox entertainment assets, including the 20th Century Fox film and television studios, to Walt Disney Co. in March. The move demonstrates Fox’s desire to remain a leader in prime-time animation. The Fox network also broadcasts “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy.”
Financial terms were not disclosed. The acquisition was valued at under $50 million, according to a person familiar with the transaction.
Bento Box, based in North Hollywood, will operate as a stand-alone entity within Fox Entertainment, a division led by Charlie Collier, its chief executive, who announced the purchase.
“As we grow Fox for the next generation, it only makes sense we would expand our animation capabilities by bringing on board the best in the business: Bento Box,” Collier said in a statement. “The Bento-Fox combination brings Fox front-door access to the next wave of the genre’s creative leaders.”
In addition to the hit Sunday night cartoon about the culinary Belcher family, Bento Box is producing two other series destined for the Fox network: “Duncanville,” from producer Amy Poehler, and “The Great North,” from Loren Bouchard, creator of Bob’s Burgers. The latter is about a single father in Alaska and his weird kids.
“Duncanville” is a co-production of three TV studios: Fox Entertainment, Universal Television and Disney’s 20th Century Fox Television. Meanwhile, Fox and Disney will co-produce “The Great North.”
“Bob’s Burgers” was among the Fox studio assets that Disney acquired this spring for $71.3 billion. But now Fox will share in the profits, and it will have rights to future projects developed by Bento Box.
The animation studio’s executive team, including co-founders Scott Greenberg and Joel Kuwahara, will continue to run the operation.
This year, Fox launched SideCar, an incubator headed by former Fox network head Gail Berman, to develop scripted and unscripted content. Fox Corp. Chief Executive Lachlan Murdoch has expressed interest in acquiring content producers to help feed the Fox broadcast network.
On Sunday, Fox said it had a deal to buy 67% of Credible Labs Inc. for $265 million. The San Francisco digital site offers consumer lending information. In a statement, Murdoch said the purchase would be beneficial to Fox Business Network and Fox-owned TV stations.