Transatlantic producer-distributor Entertainment One (eOne) has taken itself off the market after its board ruled that the offers it received were too low.
The development comes five months after the Peppa Pig company launched a strategic review aided by Credit Suisse and JP Morgan following a number of speculative approaches.
However, it today ruled out a sale after the bids it received from unnamed buyers were deemed too low. Paris-based production giant Zodiak Media was reportedly among those discussing a takeover.
“As part of the company’s review of strategic options, the board has considered various proposals that have been made for all or parts of the group and has concluded that these do not adequately reflect the company’s value,” said eOne in a statement today. “As such, the board is no longer considering the outright sale of the business.”
The firm will instead seek to grow through acquisitions and is current evaluating “a number” of potential investments. Further announcements will be made in “due course,” it added. Industry speculation suggests it may be in the market for a Canadian IP company, or seek further investment in Europe or Latin America.
The news came as eOne reported “successful” results for the three months to December 31, though an interim management statement provided no financial information.
Improvements to earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation margins were attributed to growth in eOne’s film and television arms. These experienced “100%” year-on-year growth for its digital business and offset declines in the DVD market. Net debt was lower than in 2010, though the firm’s financial year-end figure (to March 31) is expected to be slightly higher than market expectations.
EOne’s TV arm, which counts AMC zombie drama Walking Dead among its properties as well as preschool hit Peppa Pig, grew 39% year-on-year in the most recent quarter.
Despite growth in its family and Canadian production divisions, sales were down on the previous year, which it attributed to the closure of its retail arm in March last year. Overall revenue for the nine months to December 31, 2011 was down 14%.