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eOne abandons sale

Distrib to focus on acquisitions

LONDON — Entertainment One, the international indie distributor, has confirmed that it is no longer up for sale, but is seeking to expand its business by further corporate acquisitions.

The board has been reviewing its strategic options following a number of approaches to buy the group, which includes a substantial TV library along with theatrical distribution companies in Canada, the U.K., Benelux and Australia. eOne releases the “Twilight” franchise in the U.K. and Canada, and has an output deal with Summit.

According to a statement, the board has decided that the offers do not “adequately reflect” the company’s value, and therefore it is no longer considering the “outright sale” of the business.

Instead, the company is evaluating “a number of acquisition opportunities,” advised by its bankers Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan.

Pan-European TV producer Zodiak Media Group, which is owned by Italy’s DeAgostini, was reported in December to have made a £400 million ($632 million) approach to take over eOne.

The eOne board reported that its financial results for 2011 will be in line with expectations, following strong performance in its film business, including 100% year-on-year growth in digital sales, as well as substantial growth in its TV business.

Digital sales now represent over 13% of eOne’s film revenues, boosted by a longterm deal between eOne’s U.K. arm and online subscription service Lovefilm.

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