The owner of the toy developer Vivid Imaginations has hired advisers at KPMG to sell the company for up to £80m.
Vivid, which licenses Moshi Monsters toys, has been backed by Phoenix Equity Partners since a £62m management buyout in 2002 but the private equity firm now wants to exit its investment.
Vivid, based in Guildford, Surrey, makes, designs and distributes toys. It also holds the distribution rights to popular TV shows and movies, with notable successes in the past including Shrek and Toy Story 3. Nick Austin and Alan Bennie, the former managing director and finance chief, respectively, at Matchbox UK, founded Vivid in 1992. All parties declined to comment yesterday.