Company is takeover target

LONDON — Net profits at battling U.K. tyke TV group Entertainment Rights dipped by 7% last year, according to results for the year ending December 31.

The outfit, currently in takeover talks with two parties, posted a net profit of £6.5 million ($12.4 million) compared with $13.5 million the previous year.

Sales more than doubled to $129.4 million, up 129% from $56.4 million following the successful integration of Classic Media, the U.S. based children’s rights outfit.

In a statement, Entertainment Rights, whose properties include “Postman Pat” and “Basil Brush,” said: “Whilst the last six months of 2007 were challenging and the overall performance of the group was below original market expectations, this should not detract from the considerable achievements made during the year.”

In January, the company had warned that problems at its DVD distributor would hit sales but these difficulties had now been resolved, said Entertainment Rights.

More than 70% of the group’s sales are in North and South America. The U.K. accounts for about 14% of sales.

Profits had been affected by lower than expected fourth-quarter DVD sales in the U.S.

The prospects for the coming months were only so-so. “Due to the current volatility in financial markets and the economic outlook for the U.S. economy, the board remains cautious in its outlook,” said the company. “However, it expects the group to continue to build on the progress made during 2007.”

Last month, Entertainment Rights replaced CEO Mike Heap with Nick Phillips.

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