Cinven leads interest in £300m All3Media

All3Media, the Bridgepoint-backed company behind popular UK TV shows Richard and Judy and Shameless, is reportedly attracting interest from private equity firms Cinven, Apax and DLJ Merchant Banking.

All3Media, a UK television production company backed by European buyout firm Bridgepoint, is reportedly the target of a number of rival private equity firms.
 
According to The Financial Times, Cinven, Apax Partners and DLJ Merchant Banking, the buyout arm of Credit Suisse, are understood to be looking to bid for All3Media. Bridgepoint was not immediately available for comment.
 
Bridgepoint is expected to put a £300 million (€436 million; $565 million) price tag on All3Media and is being advised by investment bank UBS. All3Media announced in early April that UBS was advising the business on its strategic options, including a sale or listing on the London Stock Exchange.
 
French broadcaster NTL, owner of UK television channel Five, and television production company Endemol, best known for its Big Brother franchise, are also understood to have shown an interest in bidding for All3Media.
 
Endemol is itself attracting private equity interest, according to UK financial weekly The Business. The paper said that a consortium of private equity firms and investment banks are considering a bid of more than €5 billion ($6.5 billion) for Telefonica’s 75 percent stake in the company.
 
All3Media, which has produced a number of popular television shows including Richard and Judy, Shameless and soap opera Hollyoaks, was acquired by Bridgepoint in July 2003.
 
UK mid-market firm Bridgepoint acquired the TV division of listed media and music group Chrysalis in a €45 million management buy-in and renamed the business All3Media. Since then, the business has made a number of acquisitions, including Lion TV, Company Pictures and Artists Rights Group and currently comprises nine independent production companies in Europe.
 
Private equity firms have a long-standing interest in European television and media rights. In early 2003, Kleinwort Capital, now August Equity, paid £23 million for a 45 percent stake in UK television production company Hat Trick. More recently, private equity firm Doughty Hanson beat off competition from Veronis Suhler Stevenson to acquire Irish free-to-air broadcaster TV3 for €265 million.
 
In February, 3i agreed to a £111 million takeover of Chorion, a media group which owns the rights to children’s cartoon characters Noddy and Mr Men, as well as the Agatha Christie and Philip Marlowe crime brands.