Entertainment One Stock Rises as KKR Reportedly Weighs Bid

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A possible approach for the Canadian and U.K. 'Hunger Games' distributor by the big-name investor follows news that the indie studio has rejected an offer from ITV.

Shares of Entertainment One rose Monday on a report that private equity giant KKR & Co. is weighing a possible bid for the indie studio.

The possible bid from KKR, reported by Bloomberg News, could open the way for a bidding contest for eOne, 

eOne's stock was up nearly 5 percent on the London Stock Exchange at £2.50 ($3.22) as of 1 p.m. London time on news that the private equity firm is considering an approach after the Canadian-based producer and distributor. It came just days after eOne said it had rebuffed a a £1.03 billion ($1.3 billion) takeover bid from U.K. TV giant ITV.

The eOne board said the initial ITV offer under-valued the indie studio, whose board is understood to be eyeing a £3.00 ($3.86) per-share bid. An eOne spokesperson offered no comment on speculation about a KKR bid, and executives at the private equity firm were not available for comment on Monday.

Shares in eOne a week ago stood at £2.41 on news it was in advanced takeover talks with ITV. News of ITV's bid first emerged in April, the largest and most ambitious attempt by the acquisitive company to further grow its business.

"The company seems to be in play," Peel Hunt analyst Alex DeGroote said. "They rejected 236 pence per share, so other bidders know where to pitch their offers."

He argued that as a private equity buyer KKR has "no synergies to offer," but added that "here could be lots of North American buyers" looking at the company.

August 15, 11:30 a.m. Updated to indicate no comment from an eOne spokesperson.

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