3i eyes £300m bid for SMG

SMG, a Scottish media group with radio and television assets, is reportedly interested in pursuing private equity bids despite a merger proposal from smaller rival UTV.

3i, a global private equity firm, and investment bank UBS are reportedly putting together a £300 million (€441 million) bid for SMG, a Scottish media group.
 
3i declined to comment.
 
According to various reports, other private equity firms including European buyout firms Permira, Cinven, CVC Capital Partners and Candover are also interested in bidding for SMG, which owns Virgin Radio and television stations STV and Grampian.
 
Last week, UTV (Ulster Television), an Irish television station, said that it had approached SMG about a potential merger. However, the deal is not thought to have included cash and SMG shareholders including Fidelity and SVG Capital are reported to have questioned the wisdom of the approach by UTV, which is a smaller business than SMG.
 
3i and UBS are reported to be backing Rob Woodward, a former commercial director at independent television broadcaster Channel 4, and Robert Findlay, a former chief executive of Scottish Radio Holdings.
 
3i previously partnered with David Montgomery, the former CEO of Mirror Group Newspapers and current owner of media-focused Mecom, in 2002 to acquire Scottish Media Group’s publishing division. 3i pulled out the auction after the first round.
 
In February of this year, 3i also reportedly made a failed £100 million approach for Virgin Radio led by Labour peer Lord Waheed Alli.