RDF Media agrees $80 mil buyout deal

John de Mol's Cyrte Investments bankrolls pact

LONDON -- Television production company RDF Media, the creator of "Wife Swap" and "Faking It," said Thursday it had agreed terms for a 52 million pounds ($80 million) management buyout financed by reality king John de Mol's Cyrte Investments.

Shares in the ailing producer were up 16% at 1.15 pounds ($1.77) on news of the deal, which valued RDF at 1.20 pounds ($1.85) per share, a whopping 73% on their value before the talks were disclosed.

Cyrte currently holds a 26.5% stake in RDF, while RDF's management team led by chief executive David Frank, holds 33.8%% of the company.

The buyout has been backed by shareholders with a further 11.2% of the shares so far.

"Cyrte's sector expertise and financial strength makes them the ideal partner to support RDF through this next stage in its evolution," Frank said in a statement.

RDF Media hit the headlines last year when a mis-edited clip from a royal documentary appeared to show the Queen storming out of a photo shoot with photographer Annie Liebowitz.

The ensuing media furore forced the resignations of BBC1 director of programs Peter Fincham and RDF Media chief creative officer Stephen Lambert, and also landed RDF with a temporary commissioning ban from the BBC and ITV.
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