Australia’s media giant Village Roadshow said it has received a conditional takeover bid from private equity firm Pacific Equity Partners for $761.2 million Australian dollars ($517 million USD), the studio, theme park and movie theater operator announced Wednesday.
Village Roadshow shares were halted for sale on Thursday, but the takeover bid, amounting to A$3.90 per share, is 21.9% above Village Roadshow’s Wednesday closing price, Reuters reported Wednesday. The shares would be purchased from Village Roadshow Corporation, the privately-owned parent company that with 34% holding serves as Village Roadshow’s largest shareholder. (According to its website, the company also has a 20% stake in Bruce Robinson’s L.A.-based Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, a major film and TV production entity with a deal at Warner Bros.)
According to the Australian Financial Review, the final deal could be worth as much as A$1 billion, including debt.
Village Roadshow said Wednesday that Pacific Equity Partners has indicated willingness to offer a full cash transaction or a combination of cash and a scrip issue.
Village Roadshow’s Australian film studios, one of the Southern hemisphere’s largest, was home to the production of “Aquaman,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Kong: Skull Island,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” among many others. The company, which has experienced financial setbacks in recent years, is also involved in film exhibition, distribution and theme parks.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Village Roadshow reported strong financial results for 2019 following an ongoing dispute among members of the founding Kirby family after the company lost $500 million in valuation over the previous three years.
The company named Alix Jaffe as executive vice president of television in April. She will oversee the company’s plans to build out an independent television business with a focus on scripted content, the company announced at the time.
Reps for Village Roadshow did not immediately respond to a request for comment.