SPE bids to merge into 2waytraffic


Sony Pictures Entertainment has made a $280 million buyout bid for Dutch TV format group 2waytraffic, whose licenses include "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and "You Are What You Eat," the companies said Thursday.

Management at the Dutch company has accepted Sony's offer, which includes $233 million in cash for full control of 2waytraffic shares and an additional $47 million in earn-out agreements for the company's four founders if they stay on until 2011.

Sony's bid still must be approved by 2waytraffic shareholders.

2waytraffic's focus on such interactive viewing services as call-in transactions makes it particularly attractive for SPE as it maps out its global expansion strategy.

"With 2waytraffic, we would have the opportunity to expand our access to new content and increase our interactive and distribution capabilities around the world," SPE boss Michael Lynton said. "This would complement our scripted production and distribution business, and speed up the growth of our light entertainment business."

SPE already is a producer and distributor of shows including the CBS hit "Power of 10" as well as evergreens like "Wheel of Fortune."