Shed Media talks takeover terms with Time Warner

THE Scots founder of the television production firm behind hit series New Tricks and Waterloo Road stands to pocket more than £5 million if the company is sold to industry giant Time Warner.

• Shed's TV output include shows like New Tricks, Waterloo Road and Supernanny. Picture: Complimentary

Shed Media yesterday confirmed that "certain members of Shed management" were in discussions with the US group's subsidiary, Warner Bros Entertainment. It follows mounting speculation of a takeover deal.

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Founded in 1998 by Eileen Gallagher, London-based Shed has grown rapidly over the past decade, helped by a string of acquisitions. It floated in 2005 and owns TV producers Wall to Wall, Ricochet and Twenty Twenty.

Hamilton-born Gallagher made 6m when the company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Shares in the group last night closed up 7.1 per cent at 83.5p, giving the business a market value of 71m. There was some speculation that the price may have to go as high as 1 a share – or more than 85m – before any deal is agreed.

Shed, whose output also includes Footballers' Wives and Supernanny, stressed there was no certainty that an offer will be made.

Gallagher, co-creator of prison drama Bad Girls, was managing director and then chief executive of Shed Media for ten years, before standing down at the end of 2008 to return to a creative role as chief executive of subsidiary, Shed Productions.

She was previously managing director of London Weekend Television and deputy managing director of Granada Broadcasting.

Board members and management, including current chief executive Nick Southgate, own about 65 per cent of Shed. Gallagher holds a stake of around 7.5 per cent, worth about 5.3m at last night's close.

The company revealed two weeks ago that previous suitors Bowmark Capital and Darwin Private Equity had walked away from backing a management buyout, but said it had received another approach.

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It is understood Time Warner – the group behind Sex and the City – wants to add Shed to a recently-formed London-based production unit launched to tap into new markets following the international success of US shows, such as Gossip Girl.

Warner is said to be particularly interested in its UK peer because several of its shows, including Supernanny, have already exported well to America.

Shed has a Los Angeles production office and claims also to have a number of new programmes in production with US networks and cable channels.

On 7 April, the firm posted a 24 per cent rise in full-year pre-tax profit, helped by lower finance costs, and said 2010 had begun well.

The BBC has re-commissioned Shed for a seventh series of school drama series Waterloo Road this year, while it will also deliver another series of Who Do You Think You Are? and New Tricks.

New shows due for 2010 include High Street Dreams – a prime-time BBC series, which will take an in-depth look at shopping over the past 140 years.


IT COULD be the second big pay day in five years for former journalist Eileen Gallagher if a deal is agreed to sell the company she founded 12 years ago.

Hamilton-born Gallagher made some 6 million when Shed Media floated on the London market in 2005, just seven years after the firm's formation.

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A freelance journalist in the early 1980s, Gallagher joined Scottish Television as a press officer in 1984, becoming head of programme planning three years later. She moved up the ranks, becoming director of broadcasting and a main board director at STV from 1992 to 1994.

This month the media entrepreneur was awarded an OBE for her services to broadcasting in the Queen's birthday honours.

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