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3i to take 40% stake in Boomerang

Spanish production house set to expand

MADRID — British venture capital giant 3i is in advanced talks to take a 40% stake in growing Spanish TV production house Boomerang TV.

3i’s investment looks set to be worth north of Euro30 million ($44.3 million).

Deal, which will probably close before month’s end, contemplates both the acquisition of a Boomerang shareholding by 3i and a capital increase at Boomerang, underwritten by current partners and 3i.

Boomerang shareholders include top Spanish film execs Enrique Cerezo and Jose Manuel Lorenzo, and company founders Pedro Ricote and Jose Abril.

In an increasingly turbulent Spanish TV landscape, which has seen audience fragmentation in the broadcast network market and steady spread of digital terrestrial TV, the production sector is searching for viable new business models. Boomerang is no exception.

The company has designed an ambitious business plan to ramp up Internet and 3G cell phone content. It also aims to increase its financial muscle.

Analysts regard Boomerang as a well-positioned indie with growth potential. It is strongly placed in talk show production (with Antena 3 TV’s “El Diario de Patricia”), game show (TVE1’s “El negociador”) and TV fiction via its subsid Ida y Vuelta, which produced primetime TV dramas such as “Motivos Personales” for Mediaset’s Telecinco and “Genesis” for Cuatro, and now is prepping the dramedy “Fisica o Quimica” for A3’s primetime.

3i supports media businesses at all stages of development. In the last five years, its media team has taken stakes in more than 20 companies worldwide, including India, where it has invested nearly $45 million in Nimbus’ sport rights and broadcasting businesses.

In Spain, 3i is also finalizing the acquisition of a 16.2% stake in leading radio company Union Radio for $332 million. Union Radio is controlled by Prisa, owner of Spain’s top daily newspaper El Pais and pay TV giant Sogecable.