Discovery, Liberty Global to buy UK-based production group
(Reuters) - John Malone's Liberty Global Plc (LBTYA.O) and Discovery Communications Inc (DISCA.O) said they would jointly buy UK-based All3Media, producer of hit TV shows such as "Skins" and "Midsomer Murders", for about $300 million.
Discovery and Liberty Global said they would each contribute about 90 million pounds in cash to buy the company from its founders and funds owned by private equity firm Permira.
The companies said the enterprise value of the deal was $930 million.
Permira failed to sell All3Media in 2011, when it had asked for 600-770 million pounds. Permira has owned the company since 2006. (r.reuters.com/nyq29v)
All3Media, which also produces popular shows such as "Hollyoaks" and "The Only Way is Essex", had revenue of about 505 million pounds ($856 million) in the fiscal year ended August 2013.
For Liberty Global, the deal marks a return to international programming after it sold Chellomedia, its previous international production house, to AMC Networks Inc (AMCX.O) for $1.04 billion last October.
The move was part of the cable group's plans to focus on its core market, United States.
Media reports said on Thursday that Discovery and Liberty Global saw off a bid to buy All3Media from Fremantle, the producer of "The X Factor" and "Britain's Got Talent."
Discovery, which owns channels such as Animal Planet and the Oprah Winfrey Network, dropped its bid last month to buy Britain's free-to-air Channel 5.
Viacom Inc (VIAB.O) said last week it would buy Channel 5, the broadcaster of reality show "Big Brother" and the crime drama CSI franchise for $760 million (450 million pounds).
J.P. Morgan was the financial adviser to Discovery Communications and Liberty Global. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.
All3Media will continue to operate as an independent entity, the companies said.
($1 = 0.5899 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Abhirup Roy in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)