Global private equity house Apax Partners has made a 300 pence per share cash offer for UK-listed production company Hit Entertainment.
The offer values the company at £489.4 million (€706 million; $940 million). It has been accepted by Hit’s independent directors who own 35.5 percent of the issued share capital.
Hit Entertainment owns children’s cartoon brands including Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder, Pingu and Barney as well as Guinness World Records.
Today, Hit announced its half-year results with underlying profits having fallen by almost half to £13.3 million and turnover reduced by £22.6 million to £70.2 million.
The declines were blamed on the weak dollar and sluggish consumer licensing and home entertainment markets. The company is hoping to launch a dedicated pre-school digital TV channel in the US later this year.
Apax may be able to offer Hit further outlets for distribution of its products should the private equity firm succeed with its current bid for UK high street retailer Woolworths.
Following a rejection of its original bid valuing Woolworths at up to £790 million, Apax has made a second offer of £837 million, dependent upon completion of satisfactory due diligence. Woolworths has since agreed to giving the private equity firm access to more detailed information.