Rival MBO tabled for Shed after initial deal collapses

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The Independent Online

The proposed management buyout of Shed Media, the producer of New Tricks, collapsed yesterday, although a deal may not be dead after it revealed separate talks.

A consortium backed by the private equity companies Bowmark Capital and Darwin Private Equity revealed it was working with members of Shed's management team about taking the company private in December.

Shed put an announcement out to the Stock Exchange saying "all discussions with these private equity funds in this regard have now ceased".

Yet the group's independent directors added that the company was still in an offer period after receiving an alternative proposal over a separate management buyout "which may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company". The company declined to name the managers involved, although its chairman, Heather Rabbatts, is not involved in the buyout proposal.

The company is expected to reveal more information at its annual meeting in a few weeks' time.

Shed released its full-year results at the beginning of April, which showed that turnover had risen 13 per cent to £92.6m in 2009. The pre-tax profits were up marginally from £11.9m in 2008 to £12m last year.

The group, which also produced Waterloo Road and Supernanny, said the business was growing especially strongly in the US. Its chief executive, Nick Southgate, said at the time that it was a credit to the business' programme makers and sales team to have produced top-line growth "in these conditions," adding, "creatively we have been firing on all cylinders".

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