* “Power Rangers” has generated $5 billion since 1993
* Acquisition is first purchase for new Saban Brands unit
LOS ANGELES, May 12 (Reuters) - The spandex-clad “Power Rangers” are returning to the fold.
Billionaire Haim Saban’s Saban Capital Group said on Wednesday it has bought back the “Power Rangers” children’s franchise from the Walt Disney Co (DIS.N).
The “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” became a ratings success when Saban developed and launched the show in 1993. Disney bought the franchise in 2001 as part of its acquisition of Fox Family Worldwide, a company Saban co-owned.
Saban Capital Group declined to say how much it paid for the “Power Rangers,” but said the franchise’s licensed toys and other products and promotions have generated more than $5 billion worldwide.
Saban Capital Group’s acquisition of the “Power Rangers” marks its first purchase since its announcement last week that it formed a new unit called Saban Brands LLC, with more than $500 million to buy brands that resonate with consumers.
Saban Brands will manage and license “Power Rangers” and it has reached a deal with children’s cable network, Nickelodeon, which is owned by Viacom Inc VIAb.N, to air reruns of the series later this year. Under the deal, a new season will be created to air next year.
Elie Dekel, managing director and head of Saban Brands, told Reuters the unit still has plenty of capital left for future acquisitions, which he said could be in the same vein.
“I would say that we would certainly be open to other brands in the children’s area. It’s a strong suit for us,” Dekel added. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Andre Grenon)