Intl. Family Entertainment’s attempted takeover of TVS Entertainment, parent of MTM, has developed into a last-minute poker game between IFE and a significant minority of TVS shareholders, who are holding out for a better deal.

IFE is threatening to walk away from the deal if its $ 78 million offer is not accepted by 90% of TVS shareholders before the new deadline of Tuesday.

The U.S. company announced the extended deadline this week, after the original Jan. 4 deadline passed with acceptances from 78.4% of TVS ordinary shareholders, and only 42.6% of preference shareholders.

The preference shareholders are hoping to force IFE to sweeten their deal, which they believe is less favorable than the one offered to ordinary shareholders.

But it is a risky game of brinkmanship.

If IFE can persuade 75% of preference shareholders to accept its current offer voluntarily, the remainder will then be legally obliged to sell on significantly worse terms.

The non-cooperative shareholders are gambling that IFE wants TVS too much to give up now, and that it will increase its cash offer from 67 cents to at least $ 1.09 for each preference share.

TVS’ main asset, now that it has lost its ITV broadcasting franchise, is the Hollywood TV producer MTM. It also has studios and staff in the U.K. which IFE is planning to use as a foundation for the launch of a European version of the Family Channel.

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