The family of Roald Dahl, the author of some of the most famous children’s books ever-written, is toasting a windfall of more than £500m after agreeing to sell his works to Netflix, the US-based streaming giant.
Sky News has learnt that Netflix paid the gargantuan sum for the Roald Dahl Story Company, which comprises the rights to titles such as The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Danny The Champion of The World.
Announced on Wednesday, the deal is the biggest acquisition in Netflix’s history and hands it a catalogue of books which have sold more than 300m copies globally.
It will enable the buyer to further exploit the Dahl catalogue through further film and other visual content spin-offs, as well as merchandising opportunities where the rights are not already owned by third parties.
Media sources said that Mr Dahl’s family had been advised by Raine Group, a New York-based merchant bank, on the sale, and that the price was “a little over £500m”.
The outright acquisition of the Dahl literary estate comes three years after it struck a deal with Netflix to produce a number of animated series based on the author’s works.
Mr Dahl’s titles, which also include Boy and Fantastic Mr Fox, have been translated into dozens of languages in recent decades.
Some of his books have already been turned into major films, some – including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – on several separate occasions.
Netflix has become one of the world’s largest internet entertainment services, boasting more than 200 million subscribers, but faces intensifying competition from rival services offered by the likes of Disney and Amazon.
Mr Dahl’s legacy has been complicated by allegations of anti-Semitism, views which reportedly led the Royal Mint to decline the opportunity to honour him with a commemorative coin in 2016, the centenary of his birth.
Spokespeople for Netflix and Mr Dahl’s company both declined to comment on the deal’s valuation.