TV3 tight-lipped over reports Carlyle in takeover talks

Doughty Hanson focuses on ‘strong exits’ for its investments

Red Rock on TV3. The broadcaster has faced tougher competition for Irish viewers since the launch of UTV Ireland.

Red Rock on TV3. The broadcaster has faced tougher competition for Irish viewers since the launch of UTV Ireland.

 

TV3 Group has declined to comment on reports private equity company the Carlyle Group is among the parties interested in acquiring it from its current owner, Doughty Hanson.

Sky News reported on Thursday that Carlyle was among the buyout firms to have held preliminary talks with Doughty Hanson about a possible takeover of the broadcaster. Both Carlyle and Doughty declined to comment on its story. No formal bids are understood to have been made at this stage.

Private equity firm Doughty Hanson acquired TV3 at the peak of the market in August 2006, buying it for €265 million through an investment fund known as “Fund IV”. Earlier this week, the company said it was scrapping plans for a sixth investment fund and would instead concentrate on “maximising the considerable value of its remaining portfolio companies in funds IV and V”.

Chairman and co-founder Richard Hanson said on Tuesday he would lead a team of investment professionals to work with the management of the companies in those funds “to maximise the value of these investments”, while Stephen Marquardt, Doughty Hanson’s chief executive, indicated it would be “taking all steps necessary to achieve strong exits” for its investments.

TV3 has become a more likely candidate for sale since December 2013, when its debt with the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation was acquired by Doughty Hanson and Blue Bay. The group had a turnover of €55.9 million and made a profit of €7.5 million in 2013, the latest year for which figures have been published.

The broadcaster has faced tougher competition for Irish viewers in 2015 following the launch of UTV Ireland, but has been cushioned by a return to growth in the television advertising market and its lucrative holding of Rugby World Cup rights.

In recent years it has also stepped up its production and co-production activities and pursued international sales.