Saban Brands Adds San Diego’s Zui to its Kid Entertainment Holdings

9/19/12Follow @bvbigelow

Saban Brands, a Los Angeles-based holding company, said today it has acquired San Diego’s Zui, the kid-friendly Internet startup founded in 2008 as KidZui.

The deal includes Zui.com, a search engine for Web content approved for pre-teens, and KidZui, a plug-in Internet browser. Saban said Internet traffic for the combined Web services amounts to about 2.3 million visitors per month, with the average visitor spending almost 30 minutes three times a week.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Zui has raised more than $18 million in venture capital over the past four years. Investors include San Diego’s Mission Ventures, Costella Kirsch, Emergence Capital Partners, First Round Capital, Maveron, and Rose Tech Ventures.

Zui co-founder and CEO Cliff Boro was not available to discuss the deal this morning. In today’s statement, he says, “Zui not only adds capabilities to the Saban Brands portfolio, but also provides unbelievable talent and capabilities in the areas of engineering, product development, and digital entertainment.” Saban Brands, which plans to keep the Zui office in San Diego, said the deal includes 12 Zui employees.

Saban Brands was founded in 2010 by Saban Capital Group, which committed over $500 million in an ambitious plan to acquire a diverse portfolio of media, lifestyle, fashion, celebrity, and consumer brands. The portfolio already includes Vortexx Entertainment Ventures, a block of Saturday morning cartoons; Power Rangers; and the Paul Frank design house, with its youth-oriented Julius-brand of apparel, furnishing, toys, and other products.

Leading Saban Brands’ strategy is Elie Dekel, an entertainment industry veteran in marketing, licensing, and creative services who was tapped to match the success that began with Saban Entertainment’s merger with News Corp’s Fox Kids Network in 1995. Following the acquisition of The Family Channel in 1998, Dekel became president of consumer products for Fox Family Worldwide, which was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2001.

In today’s statement, Dekel says the Zui acquisition “allows us to further develop our online offering and deepens our position as a premier provider of kids entertainment across all media.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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  • http://embarke.com/ ALBsharah

    Nice work! Congrats Cliff, Tom, and Ryan!