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Peppa Pig owner confirms it is for sale

Entertainment One’s shares rise, valuing it at £358m, as it appoints investment banks to seek out offers

Much loved children’s character Peppa Pig is for sale after brand owner Entertainment One confirmed that it was considering a number of takeover offers.

Shares rose by 32p to 195p this morning, valuing Entertainment One at £358m, after it announced the approaches to the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning. Investment banks JP Morgan Cazenove and Credit Suisse have been appointed to advise the company’s board and seek out further offers.

In a statement the company said: “The board of Entertainment One notes the recent press speculation and confirms that it is considering its strategic options, which may include a sale of the company in response to interest it has received from various parties.”

A Canadian entertainment company listed in London, the bulk of Entertainment One’s revenues come from film and TV distribution in the UK and North America. Its library of films was valued at 0m (£158m) last year.

Entertainment One owns the rights to The Twilight Saga in the UK and Canada and children’s animated feature Gnomeo & Juliet.

Peppa Pig has inspired its own UK theme park and launched in the US this year, where it airs daily as one of the top 10 programmes on Nick Jr. A licensing deal with Fisher Price will see Peppa Pig toys in US shops for Christmas.

The company increased revenues by 12% last year to just under £470m, delivering a profit before tax of £32m. It cut debt by £25m to £39m in the year to 31 March 2011.

The offer for Entertainment One means the UK’s three best-known children’s entertainment companies are now in play.

Thomas the Tank Engine owner HIT Entertainment, owned by private equity group Apax Partners, is currently considering approaches from toy makers, believed to include Tomy and Mattel. Meanwhile, 3i has put Chorion, owner of the Mr Men and Noddy franchises, up for sale after pressure from the company’s lending banks.

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