Independent producer/distributor Lions Gate Ent. announced today that it does not intend to make an offer to acquire HIT Entertainment PLC, home to Bob the Builder,Thomas the Tank Engine and other successful animated shows for kids. The news comes less than two weeks after New York-based property rights manager Classic Media dropped out of the competition, making private equity company Apax Partners the only potential HIT buyer.
Lions Gate CEO Jon Feltheimer comments, “After our review of due diligence materials, we have determined that although HIT would be a potentially strong strategic fit, a Lions Gate/HIT transaction does not create the level of additional shareholder value that would be a prerequisite for moving forward."
Despite the popularity of Bob the Builder and other HIT commodities, HIT has seen home video, licensing and retail revenues slide considerably in the past year, making it a prime target for take-over.
In March, HIT agreed to be acquired by Apax for $917.1 million. The move seemed like a done deal until Lions Gate exercised due diligence and expressed interest in placing a bid that sources said may have reached $1billion. Now it appears HIT will go to Apax as planned.