The Alvin And The Chipmunks Franchise Can Be Yours For $300 Million

An well-known franchise is likely going to have a new owner in the not-too-distant future, with an astronomical price tag attached. "Alvin and the Chipmunks," in its entirety, has quietly hit the market, with potential buyers sniffing around. The price to acquire the riches contained within this kid-friendly, enduring franchise? $300 million, give or take. And someone, if not multiple someones, are going to be willing to pay the seemingly crazy price, it seems.

According to CNBC, Bagdasarian Productions, the current owner of the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" franchise, has been actively looking for a buyer, and has been working with a financial advisor to get the whole thing sorted out. They've landed on $300 million as the figure, which hasn't scared everyone off, amazingly enough. ViacomCBS is said to be sniffing around, which would likely be a play for Paramount+. Other companies such as Netflix and WarnerMedia, which controls HBO Max, have been making plays for IP and media companies to bolster offerings. So there might be other suitors out there.

No agreement on terms has been made as of this writing, so other buyers could emerge, or potential deals could fall apart. But the fact that this is even happening illustrates the current nature of the entertainment business. Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and his wife, Janice Karman, currently operate Bagdasarian Productions, and his father, Ross Bagdasarian Sr., was responsible for creating Alvin, Simon, and Theodore back in 1958.

Why Are These Chipmunks Worth So Much Cash?

Crazy as it may seem, "Alvin and the Chipmunks" is a shockingly enduring franchise that was created in the late '50s and, save for a several-year break in the '70s, has been around in some shape or form ever since. The characters have managed to adapt with the times, breaking into just about every medium imaginable, from sing-along records, to TV, to live-action movies, and lots of merchandise. To date, the movies have generated more than $1.4 billion at the box office, and that's but a small portion of what this franchise can be in the right hands.

As I discussed in detail recently, media mergers and buyouts have been all the rage in recent years. This has to do with the fact that most Hollywood studios and media companies have gone into business for themselves, largely focused on streaming. Licensing content from other studios is challenging as a result. The solution? Buy IP or media libraries outright. Netflix, for example, spent $700 million earlier this year to acquire Roald Dahl's library. With so many franchises and companies already locked up, a seller's market has emerged for anyone with a franchise or library to sell. Bagdasarian may well cash in as a result.

Paramount+ might make a good fit as they have all of Nickelodeon's offerings and could beef up the kid's side of things. Netflix, similarly, makes an awful lot of TV and movies for younger viewers, and they have deep pockets. We'll see what happens in the coming weeks, but fingers crossed for that dark and gritty reboot of "The Chipmunk Adventure" nobody asked for.