TVS shareholders force higher bid

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The Independent Online
INTERNATIONAL Family Entertainment, the US cable television group, has bowed to pressure from preference shareholders in TVS Entertainment, who have claimed IFE's pounds 50m offer for the company is biased against them.

The US group, which is headed by the TV evangelist Pat Robertson, will announce today that it is offering 60p in cash for each preference share, an increase of 17p per share on the offer currently on the table. IFE is also offering shares worth about 63p for each preference share, as well as cash worth 23p or shares worth 35p for the ordinary shares.

The extra cash in the offer will cost IFE about pounds 8m.

IFE threatened to withdraw the bid unless the rebel preference shareholders, believed to command about 30 per cent of the shares, gave in. However, the rebels made it clear that they would call IFE's bluff.

IFE is expected to declare the offers final today, so that they cannot be increased even if IFE wanted.

So far shareholders representing 78.4 per cent of the ordinaries and 42.6 per cent of the preference shares have accepted the offer, which closes on Tuesday.

The rebels preference shareholders, who have been advised by Julian Treger of Restructuring Associates, have argued that if TVS, which lost its ITV franchise a week ago, was put into liquidation, the preference shares would have to be paid out in full before the ordinary shareholders received any money.