Chrysalis sells off TV sector

Consortium looks to make further acquisitions in the U.K.

LONDON — U.K. media group Chrysalis announced Thursday that it has sold its television division to a consortium led by ex-Granada chief exec Steve Morrison for 50.8 million pounds ($82 million).

Other partners in the consortium include former head of ITV programming David Liddiment and Granada’s former managing director of operations Jules Burns. Consortium is backed by venture capitalist firm Bridgepoint Capital.

Execs are expected to use the new company to make further acquisitions in the U.K. TV production sector.

Chrysalis TV’s companies include Bentley Productions, maker of ITV drama “Midsomer Murders,” a sports unit that produces ITV1’s Formula One motor racing coverage and Cactus Television, producer of early evening chat show “Richard & Judy” on Channel 4.

The unit posted revenues of $143 million last year, 37% of group turnover, and a 40% rise in pre-tax profits to $5.6 million.

“This is a good transaction for all stakeholders,” said Chrysalis chief exec Richard Huntingford. “We are receiving a full price for Chrysalis Television and making an important step to becoming a more focused media group, capitalizing on our leading positions in music publishing and radio.”

Chrysalis chairman Chris Wright added, “This transaction puts the group in an excellent position to benefit from any opportunities which may arise from the regulatory changes introduced by the new Communications Act.”

Chrysalis is planning to use the cash to snap up radio stations after the U.K.’s recent relaxation of radio ownership laws.

Shareholders are expected to approve the deal at an extraordinary general meeting on Aug. 21.

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