Media Square rejects £45m offer

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The Independent Online

Sir Peter Burt, the chairman of ITV who fought off a private equity bid for the broadcaster earlier this year, has seen his bid for the marketing services group Media Square rejected as an attempt by private equity to buy the business on the cheap.

Sir Peter's Promethean investment vehicle, which is unrelated to his role at ITV, made a £45m offer to buy most of the businesses of Media Square.

Media Square, which is chaired by Kelvin MacKenzie, the former editor of The Sun, has seen its stock market value plunge after it put out a profits warning last month. The company is struggling to integrate a major acquisition, though it has stated that it has won a multimillion-pound contract and the second half would be much stronger.

Even though the offer for some of Media Square exceeded the stock market value of the whole company, it said: "The board unanimously concluded that the offer, although substantial, materially undervalued the group as a whole and was not in the best interests of its shareholders." Jeremy Middleton, the chief executive of Media Square, said the offer was "one-sided" and "does not reflect the value of the business".

Media Square bought the marketing division of Huntsworth for £63m last November, trebling the size of its business, but leaving it with a large amount of debt and a headache with integrating the business.