Peppa Pig’s US jaunt boosts owner EntOne

 
Steve Dinneen
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PEPPA Pig’s push into the US has helped ensure Entertainment One’s first-half earnings will be significantly ahead of last year, the firm said yesterday.

The media production and distribution company, which listed on the London Stock Exchange last year, jumped 20 per cent earlier this month on speculation it has hired banks to field interest for a possible takeover.

The firm declined to elaborate yesterday, saying it will update the market “in due course”.

It said it expects its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to soar, buoyed by increased investment in content and improved margins thanks to long term output agreements with partners including LoveFilm.

First-half revenue is expected to be in line with the previous year, with the firm saying this was particularly pleasing given tough comparisons against a half including blockbuster movie The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.

Strong trading in its TV-focused entertainment division offset lower sales in distribution, which was blamed on a lack of box-office smash releases. A spokesman said sales should pick up in the second half thanks to movies including Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and thriller Man on a Ledge.

Entertainment One increased its film releases to 70 from 63 last year and said the value of its film library had increased 40 per cent in the last year to $350m (£223m).

The results could push the firm’s value beyond the $400m analysts said was “reasonable”, with media giants including Disney, Viacom, Sony, Alliance Films, Lionsgate and NewsCorp all being linked to a possible takeover bid.