PFD moves toward MBO

Agency reps Knightley, Gervais

LONDON — The 14-strong management team of European talent and literary agency PFD have formally entered buyout negotiations with parent company CSS Stellar.

A serious management buyout effort has been increasingly likely since PFD agents, including St. John Donald, Tim Corrie and Anthony Jones, learned that CSS had tried to sell PFD to Iostar without their knowledge (Variety, April 30.)

Latest talks follow hot on the heels of a CSS extraordinary general meeting Tuesday where CSS defeated a bid by rebel shareholder Duncan Soukup to seize control of the entire group.

London-based PFD, previously known as Peters Fraser and Dunlop, reps screen stars including Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet, James McAvoy, Toni Collette, Hugh Dancy and Rupert Everett, helmers Mike Leigh and Kevin Macdonald, Brit comics Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and scribes including Alan Bennett.

“The chairman of CSS Stellar confirmed yesterday that the offer supported by management for all of PFD, including our New York office, is the only offer on the table at present,” said St John Donald and Maureen Vincent, PFD joint chairs, in a joint statement issued July 4.

“We are pleased that this all-cash offer, which was increased to over £4 million ($8.1 million) more than two months ago, will now lead to pro-active talks with the board of CSS Stellar. We look forward to a swift agreement leading to continuing success for a once again independent PFD.”

CSS Stellar bought PFD in November 2001.

Moving to reassure talent, Donald and Vincent stressed that “our clients and the team at PFD are the number one priority. We will ensure that our clients’ needs are looked after during this process, which will have no impact on the service they have always received.”

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