An investment group backed by Irish tycoons JP McManus and John Magnier was today reported to be in talks to buy Chrysalis’s radio arm for up to £180m (€267m).
Chrysalis is the parent company of various TV production companies including Chrysalis Television, Bentley Productions and Cactus.
Swiss-based private equity fund Lydian Capital is said to be in advanced talks to acquire the division, which is home to Heart, Galaxy and LBC, a report in the Daily Telegraph said.
It follows the appointment by Chrysalis of advisory firm Hawkpoint, to consider options for the radio business.
Lydian was set up by Irish entrepreneur Denis Brosnan, who until 2003 was chairman of Kerry Group, the food ingredients business. He was also a major shareholder at the leisure clubs business Next Generation, prior to its sale to property company London & Regional.
As well as Mr Magnier and Mr McManus, betting entrepreneur Michael Tabor is also thought to be a backer of some of Lydian’s investment funds.
Today’s newspaper report said Lydian had beaten several other offers for the radio business, one of which is thought to have come from Australian investment fund Macquarie.
Some shareholders have been pressing for a break-up of Chrysalis as they believe the two parts of the business are under-valued.
A demerger of the radio arm would still leave Chrysalis as one of the largest independent music publishing operations with artists such as Gnarls Barkley, The Dixie Chicks and Mariah Carey.