(Reuters) - Private equity firm Guggenheim Partners is close to buying "Golden Globe" producer Dick Clark Productions after "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest and his backers withdrew from talks, the Hollywood Reporter newspaper said.
The independent production firm, set up by U.S. TV frontman Dick Clark in 1957, has been put up for sale by Red Zone Capital, the private equity firm of Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.
Clark sold his majority stake in 2002 but continued to appeared on the company's "New Years Rockin' Eve" show despite illness, until he died in April this year at the age of 82.
Hollywood trade paper the Hollywood Reporter said Guggenheim Partners had entered into exclusive negotiations with the production house (r.reuters.com/tyb42t).
Seacrest and his private equity partners, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital, withdrew from the bidding process after an initial round of talks and subsequent due diligence, the Wall Street Journal reported (r.reuters.com/syb42t).
The Hollywood Reporter also said Dick Clark Productions chief executive Mark Shapiro reportedly sought $350 million for the company, also known for shows such as the "Academy of Country Music Awards", "So You Think You Can Dance" and the Miss Universe pageant.
The Hollywood Reporter said Guggenheim could end up paying 10 percent over the asking price or about $385 million.
None of the parties could be reached for comment.
Earlier this month, two sources told Reuters that CBS Corp was considering joining the race for Dick Clark Productions, as one of four to six bidders who had moved to a second round of discussions ahead of a bid deadline of August 31.
Seacrest, 37, is building a media empire through his own production company. Aside from "Idol," he hosts a morning radio show; produces "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" for the E! cable TV network; and has contributed to NBC's "Today" show and summer Olympics coverage.
He has also hosted the "New Years Rockin' Eve" show with Dick Clark in recent years.
Reporting by Sunayan Bhattacharjee and Himank Sharma; Editing by Rodney Joyce