Interactive TV concept developer 2waytraffic has agreed to a £1.08-per-share cash officer from Sony (NYSE: SNE) Pictures Entertainment’s 2JS Productions unit. SPE said it’s an initial cash consideration of £114.3 million. The Dutch company, which is listed on London’s AIM, makes participation TV formats including Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and Braincrackers and has the TextWorld SMS community and Cell Ads handset commercial app in the mobile space; it bought mobile content platform Emexus and interactive designer intellygents in 2006, then the Millionaire rights from Celador last year. The board recommended the offer to shareholders.
2waytraffic was affected last year by the UK’s call-TV scandals, leading it to marginalize that business in December, but, in a trading update also issued today, said that “despite a challenging 2007”, earnings before tax, depreciation and amortisation for 2007 would be 29 million euros. Even if the acquisition falls through, the company reckons on similar profit for 2008. But debt is around 70 million euros.
The deal would mean the US player behind shows like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy would get to bolt on interactive features to such big-name franchises. SPE CEO Michael Lynton: “We would have the opportunity to expand our access to new content and increase our interactive and distribution capabilities around the world.” (Announcement).