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Celebrated Children’s Book Author and Emmy Winner Mo Willems, Stampede Ventures and RedBird Capital Partners Announce Creation of Hidden Pigeon Company

Kids and Family Content Entity, Hidden Pigeon Company, to adapt and leverage entire Willems IP library across multiple entertainment platforms

Kathy Franklin Appointed Chief Executive Officer

NEW YORK and LOS ANGELES, May 10, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mo Willems, Stampede Ventures (“Stampede”) and RedBird Capital Partners (“RedBird”) today announced the formation of Hidden Pigeon Company (“HPC”), a multiplatform kids and family content company that will leverage Willems’ best-selling catalogue of children’s books and intellectual property across all entertainment platforms, including television, film, digital, gaming, live events, location-based experiences, publishing, consumer products and more.

HPC will harness its relationship with Stampede and now RedBird to build on the historic reach of Willems’ franchises and further enhance the development of his intellectual property through premier entertainment offerings and products created for kids and family audiences on a global basis.

“The Hidden Pigeon Company takes its name from how kids and former kids delight in finding The Pigeon hidden in every one of my books,” said Mo Willems. “It is my hope to create a similar bit of surprise and delight in the fabric of everything we make or do. I am thrilled to have found wonderful collaborative partners to make that hope a reality.”

The creation of HPC follows the success of Stampede Ventures and Mo Willems’ existing producing partnership, which has already earned early success with two specials that premiered on HBO Max (MAX) -- Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience and Storytime All Stars Presents: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime (2020), which was nominated for two daytime Emmys.

HPC will be led by Kathy Franklin as Chief Executive Officer. Franklin joins HPC from Lightstorm Entertainment where she served as President, Franchise Development for nearly 12 years.

With RedBird’s significant financial investment and industry expertise, HPC will be able to expedite its development pipeline, infrastructure expansion and commercial initiatives. RedBird’s involvement also marks the firm’s expansion into the kids and family entertainment sector.

In addition, HPC will also house a new publishing imprint called Specific House, which has partnered with publisher Union Square & Co. to launch Willems’ latest New York Times Best Seller, the new adult humor book, Be the Bus – The Lost & Profound Wisdom of The Pigeon, as well as the recent New York Times Best Seller The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster! and the upcoming Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Sleigh!, which will be The Pigeon’s first-ever holiday book, and more titles to come. Willems is repped by his long-term literary agent, Marcia Wernick at Wernick & Pratt Agency, LLC, who will continue to represent his domestic literary rights.

“We’ve deeply enjoyed the success of our partnership with Mo and Cher Willems to date, and it’s shown us that the popularity of his IP and the appetite for premium family entertainment are a powerful combination,” said Greg Silverman, Stampede Ventures’ CEO and Founder.     

“The launch of Hidden Pigeon Company with RedBird is our opportunity to bring the full range of Mo's creative genius into one entity crafted to expand the impact of his work. RedBird’s extensive experience will be critical in HPC’s long-term success, and we are thrilled to have their support and partnership,” said Chris Bosco, Stampede Ventures’ President.     

Gerry Cardinale, RedBird Capital Founder and Managing Partner, said, “Working with creative entrepreneurs like Mo is at the core of our investing strategy. The creation of HPC is consistent with RedBird’s broader media investment thesis of acquiring best-in-class IP and scaling its scope of impact and commercialization. Our goal is to help this new company and partnership transform the traditional kids and family entertainment landscape and the way audiences experience Mo’s stories.”

About Stampede Ventures

STAMPEDE VENTURES is a global media company that creates and owns IP across film, television (unscripted and scripted), and digital with an eye toward franchise-first content to launch the next generation of blockbusters. The company has more than 150+ projects in development or set up with producing partners at Warner Bros., Netflix, Apple, FOX, Lionsgate, Peacock, MTV, HBO Max, Disney+, and Paramount+.

Stampede Ventures was founded in 2018 by CEO Greg Silverman, the former President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production at Warner Bros. Pictures, in addition to media veterans and the company's lead investor and co-chairman Gideon Yu, former CFO of Facebook and YouTube, and co-owner of the San Francisco 49ers, as well as Jaeson Ma, co-founder of East West Ventures and 88Rising. The company is led by President Chris Bosco, who has held senior positions at MGM / United Artists and European-based CME, in addition to President of Production Jon Berg, the former Co-Head of DC and Co-President of Production at Warner Bros.

About RedBird Capital Partners

RedBird Capital Partners is a private investment firm that builds high-growth companies and provides strategic capital solutions to founders and entrepreneurs. Founded in 2014 by Gerry Cardinale, RedBird integrates sophisticated private equity investing with a hands-on business building mandate that focuses on three core industry verticals– Media & Entertainment, Sports and Experiential Consumer, and Financial Services. Throughout his 30-year investment career, Cardinale has partnered with founders and entrepreneurs to build some of the most iconic growth companies in their respective industries. The firm currently manages over $8.6 billion in assets on behalf of a global group of blue chip institutional and family office investors. For more information, please go to

About Mo Willems

Mo Willems is a worldwide bestselling, award-winning author and illustrator. His inventive cast of book characters includes one of children’s literature’s greatest friendships in the Elephant and Piggie book series, as well as The Pigeon, star of his own beloved book series, including the recently-published The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster! (September 2022), which debuted as a New York Times Best Seller. Willems has been awarded three Caldecott Honors for his books Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity. He was the inaugural Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence (2019-2022) and continues to collaborate in classical music, opera, comedy concerts, dance, and digital works with the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera, Ben Folds, Renée Fleming, and others. Current nationally touring solo exhibits include OPPOSITES ABSTRACT (originating at the Museum Lab of the Pittsburgh Children's Museum) and Elephant & Piggie’s WE ARE ART! (originating at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art). Mo began his career as a writer and animator on PBS’ Sesame Street, garnering six Emmy Awards. His papers reside in the collection of Yale University’s Beinecke Library.

Media Contacts:

Stampede Ventures
Tiffany Wagner
MPRM Communications
+1 323 933 3399

RedBird Capital Partners
Melissa Zukerman
Principal Communications Group
+1 323 658 1555

Dan Gagnier
Gagnier Communications
+1 646 569-5897

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