Basil Brush maker bought

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The Independent Online

RDF Media, the independent producer that created Wife Swap, has agreed to buy the children's television producer Foundation TV, the company responsible for reviving Basil Brush, in a deal worth up to £10m. The acquisition is a step forward for RDF's plans to expand into children's and family entertainment, led by the former ITV executive Nigel Pickard, the company's director of family entertainment.

RDF creates and distributes content around the world, and makes television programmes for all the terrestrial broadcasters in the UK, and some US network and cable broadcasters. John de Mol, co-founder of Endemol, has been building a stake in RDF since the beginning of 2006, and now owns approximately 15 per cent of the company.

Vanessa Hill and Ged Allen co-founded Foundation in 1994 and since then the Maidstone-based company has produced programmes for both the BBC and ITV. Last year it generated revenue of approximately £5m and a profit before tax of £1.1m.

RDF is paying the company £4m in cash and shares immediately, with the remaining balance to be paid in shares or loan notes if Foundation reaches performance targets for 31 January 2009.

Foundation TV has a number of current and new commissions, but RDF was keen to point out that the main attraction for it had been the company's established relationships with a variety of broadcasters and the "high quality, profitable" nature of its programmes.

RDF shares, which have traded above 230p this year, closed 3.5p higher yesterday at 193p. Altium Securities described the move as a "sensible incremental acquisition'' but did not adjust its revenue or profit forecasts.

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