Noddy spurns Entertainment approach

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The Independent Online

Chorion, which owns the rights to Noddy, The Famous Five and Miss Marple, signed a distribution deal yesterday for Noddy products with the United States toy company Hasbro. The deal was signed as it rejected another takeover approach from rival Enterntainment Rights.

Chorion said Entertainment Rights had made "a long series of unsolicited and unwelcome approaches" over the past three years but that none had ever resulted in an offer being made. This latest approach from the owner of Basil Brush and Postman Pat, which is thought to have been a combination of paper and shares, "significantly" undervalued the business, it said.

City sources hinted yesterday, however, that many of the approaches from Entertainment Rights had come during particularly sensitive times for Chorion. This time, Chorion is in advanced talks to buy the rights to the Mr Men characters from the family of their creator, Roger Hargreaves - which could cost it between £15m and £30m.

Shares in Chorion closed up 19.5p, or 10.05 per cent, at 213.5p - helped by the Hasbro announcement that it will distribute Noddy products in France and Belgium and potentially other countries in Europe.

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