Entertainment Rights In Talks With Suitors

(Reuters) – Entertainment Rights, home to children’s TV characters Basil Brush and Postman Pat, said on Monday it was in early stage talks over a possible bid for the company, as it also seeks to secure funding.

The British firm declined to name its suitors.

Earlier on Monday, the Daily Telegraph newspaper said Britain’s Hit Entertainment, Canada’s Cookie Jar Entertainment, Israeli-American media-mogul Haim Saban, hedge fund Och-Ziff and leisure tycoon Trevor Hemmings, who already owns a stake in the business, might be interested.

Entertainment Rights said it continued to work with its bank, HBOS (HBOS.L), on new, long-term funding arrangements.

Earlier this month, the firm said it had obtained a short-term loan facility of 13 million pounds ($19.1 million) from HBOS to cover it until Feb. 28.

At Aug. 31, Entertainment Rights had net debts of 125 million pounds, compared with its current market value of just 3 million pounds.

The group promoted Deborah Dugan to chief executive earlier this month, when it said it faced a hit of about 500,000 pounds from the slide of retail chain Woolworths’ distribution business into administration.

At 1205 GMT, Entertainment Rights shares were flat at 0.45 pence. (Reporting by Mark Potter; Editing by David Cowell)