Magical Elves Owner Tinopolis to Explore Sale

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'Top Chef' producer Magical Elves is part of Tinopolis

A private equity firm is the biggest shareholder in the big British TV producer, which acquired the maker of 'Top Chef' earlier this year

U.K. TV production giant Tinopolis Group, which also owns such U.S. companies as Top Chef producer Magical Elves, is planning to explore strategic alternatives, including a potential sale or part sale, sources confirmed Thursday.

U.K. private equity firm Vitruvian Partners currently holds the biggest stake in the Welsh company, which is seen as the largest truly independent British TV producer after the planned combination of 21st Century Fox's Shine Group with Endemol and Core Media. Full ownership details aren't disclosed.

The Guardian reported that a sale could fetch a price tag of more than £300 million ($485 million) and that first information materials have been sent to interested parties.

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The paper said that senior Tinopolis management, which owns the rest of the company, rejected an offer from Michael Dell’s MSD Capital last year, with Entertainment One also having held talks about a possible deal earlier this year. A Tinopolis representative declined to comment.

U.K. and U.S. entertainment companies are seen as possible buyers, as there has been a string of deals involving British and U.S. TV companies. Among others, U.K. TV giant ITV has acquired such U.S. firms as Cake Boss producer High Noon Entertainment, Duck Dynasty creator Gurney and Thinkfactory Media, the firm behind Kevin Costner drama Hatfields & McCoys, while Discovery Communications and Liberty Global recently bought U.K. producer All3Media.

In the U.S., Tinopolis previously acquired A Smith & Co., one of the companies behind Hell’s Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay, and Base Productions in 2011. Other Tinopolis-owned businesses include Pioneer Productions, Mentorn Media, Firecracker Films (Big Fat Gypsy Weddings) and Passion Distribution.

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According to published surveys, Tinopolis' annual revenue amounts to around $325 million.

The Guardian said that the Vitruvian fund linked to the firm's Tinopolis investment is coming to an end, which has in part prompted the decision to explore options. But Vitruvian is keeping all options open for now.

Twitter: @georgszalai