Platinum Equity Nears Deal for Grass Valley

PARIS (Reuters) – Shares in French media technology group Thomson (TMS.PA) gained more than 8 percent on Monday after a press report said it was close to clinching the sale of its digital film and broadcasting systems unit Grass Valley.

French daily La Tribune said that pivate equity firm Platinum Equity was in exclusive talks to acquire Grass Valley and the two companies aimed to reach a deal by September.

Thomson declined to comment.

Thomson’s shares, which have surged 183 percent since reaching a floor on March 17, are still down 91 percent over the past 24 months. By 0846 GMT on Monday the price was up 8.18 percent at 1.007 euros.

The disposal of the loss-making business is part of Thomson’s efforts to boost its balance sheet and stem losses after striking a debt restructuring deal that still needs to be approved by shareholders.

La Tribune said Deutsche Bank, to whom Thomson owes a little over 400 million euros, is acting as adviser to the French group on the sale of Grass Valley.

At the end of July Thomson said it had reached a debt-for-equity restructuring deal with creditors to slash 45 percent off its 2.9 billion euros of debt and secure its survival.

(Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt and Blaise Robinson; Editing by Greg Mahlich)