UK Firm In Talks With Talent Agency

(Reuters) – Sports and talent management agency Formation Group Plc (FRM.L) said on Tuesday it was in exclusive talks with Gresham Private Equity over some parts of its business, sending shares soaring over 40 percent.

AIM-listed Formation, which counts pop impresario Simon Cowell and TV presenters Ant and Dec among its clients, said the private equity house had not expressed interest in the company as a whole.

“Discussions are ongoing and whilst there can be no guarantee that any agreement will be reached, the company has entered into a period of exclusivity with Gresham,” Formation said in a statement in response to press speculation.

The Sunday Times reported this weekend that a management team led by Chief Executive Neil Rodford and backed by Gresham was planning to buy five of Formation’s seven subsidiaries and take the company private in a deal worth 25 million pounds ($40 million).

Shares in Formation, which have lost 70 percent of their value over the last year, were up 42.3 percent at 9.25 pence at 0738 GMT, valuing the company at about 14.3 million pounds. ($1=.6288 Pound) (Reporting by Victoria Bryan)