Penguin Random House has acquired Eric Carle LLC, the IP owner of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and more than 70 other books from the author.
The deal includes publishing rights to all Carle’s works as well as the substantial licensing business that has grown up around them.
Penguin will continue to work with global licensing agent Joester Loria Group, which has overseen licensing for the Eric Carle brand since 2011. Rocket Licensing is the local agent for The Very Hungry Caterpillar in the UK.
Carle released The Very Hungry Caterpillar 50 years ago in June 1969, and turned 90 himself this June. The author said in a statement he and his son Rolf decided to hand off the management of his creative estate to Penguin Random House because “I know they will continue the work of the Eric Carle studio with creativity, integrity, and care”.
“I feel confident that entrusting Penguin Random House with my life’s work is the right direction for me, and will benefit many future generations of readers for my books.”
The deal is expected to close in January 2020, when Stephanie Sabol, Vice President of Business Development at Penguin Young Readers will take stewardship of all business operations for the brands.
Eric Carle’s properties have become some of the most widely licensed kids’ book brands. The growing programme, centred on The Very Hungry Caterpillar, stretches from plush toys, puzzles, games and gifts, to kids’ apparel, snacks, gardening kits, live events and more.
Jen Loja, president of Penguin Random House’s Penguin Young Readers division, says: “Eric Carle’s iconic picture books have long been part of the fabric of Penguin Young Readers. Generations of readers, myself included, grew up with Eric’s innovatively designed books. And his signature collage artwork and introductions to early concepts are as resonant today as they were 50 years ago.
“After years of working closely with [Eric Carle studio executives] Eric, Jack, Motoko, and their brilliant team, we are honoured to continue their work to grow and expand this treasured pre-school brand.”