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KKR weighs bid for ‘Peppa Pig’ owner Entertainment One: Reuters

U.S. private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR.N) may bid for Canadian television distributor Entertainment One Ltd (ETO.L) after the owner of the preschool cartoon character “Peppa Pig” rejected an offer from U.K. broadcaster ITV Plc (ITV.L), Bloomberg reported on Sunday.

KKR has not decided whether to make a bid, Bloomberg reported, citing sources.

Entertainment One last week rejected a 1 billion pound (US$1.3 billion) takeover offer from British broadcaster ITV, saying it undervalued the production and distribution company.

Starting life as a Canadian record and tape retailer, eOne now boasts a library of rights including more than 40,000 film and television titles, 4,500 hours of television programming and 45,000 music tracks.

The group, which bought the European licensing rights for the DreamWorks Studios film of Roald Dahl‘s children’s book “The BFG,” says its rights alone were independently valued at over US$1 billion last year.

Buying Toronto-based eOne would bolster an acquirer’s activities in television production and family entertainment as well as give it an international film distribution business.

eOne has come under pressure from U.S activist shareholder Livermore Partners for the rapid pace of its deal-making and what it said was a lack of focus on cashflow.

Update: Canada Pension Plan Investment Board bought a minority stake in Entertainment One for 142.4 million pounds ($290 million) last year. The seller in the deal was British private equity firm Marwyn Investment Management.

CPPIB remains the company’s largest shareholder.

(Reporting by Toronto newsroom; Editing by Richard Chang)

(This story has been edited by Kirk Falconer, editor of PE Hub Canada)

Photo of Peppa Pig balloon courtesy of Reuters/Pablo Sanhueza