'Shameless' TV producer to float

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The Independent Online

All3Media, the television production company behind the Hollyoaks series, looks set to go for a £300m stock market flotation.

The company announced yesterday that it has appointed the investment bank UBS to advise on its "strategic options" including a listing. All3Media is by far the biggest independent production house, with revenues last year of £157m. It would dwarf the other listed producers, which include RDF and Shed, the company behind Footballers' Wives.

All3Media was acquired less than three years ago from Chrysalis for just £45m by a new management buy-in team led by Steve Morrison, the former chief executive of Granada. Since then, All3Media has made a number of acquisitions, including branching out into talent management through a deal to buy Artists Rights Group last month.

A float is likely to make multi-millionaires of Mr Morrison and the other two key executives that run the business: Jules Burns, the former managing director of operations at Granada, and David Liddiment, the ex-director of programmes at ITV. Their stakes were not disclosed yesterday. Bridgepoint, the private-equity group that backed Mr Morrison and colleagues, owns a majority interest in All3Media.

"All3Media has enjoyed excellent growth and we are confident of taking the business forward to new levels of achievement," Mr Morrison said. "We are pleased to be working with UBS as we explore all the various strategic options to build the business."

As well as the long-running soap Hollyoaks, which is broadcast on Channel 4, All3Media's programmes include the drama series Midsomer Murders and Shameless, as well as the talkshow Richard & Judy.