The UK publicly-listed distributor has had its shares suspended pending reverse takeover talks with Target Entertainment, the TV distributor. Metrodome is paying £10 million ($15 million) for Target, which has a library of 6,000 hours of programming. Target bought Greenlit Rights, the production company of Stormbreaker author Anthony Horowitz two years ago. ITV broadcasts cosy Second World War drama Foyle’s War that Greenlit produces. The deal would give Target access to the public markets for the first time. Having a TV library would iron out the troughs of indie film distribution for Metrodome, which hasn’t had a hit since Donnie Darko. Accountancy firm BDO is advising Target on the merger. Endemol and some US companies – keen to take advantage of the weak pound – could still take Target off the table though.
Until last year, Target appeared to be going gangbusters. Things were going so well, it even moved into film production – always a sign of hubris. Kate McCreery, former producer partner of Charles Finch, was brought it to run the feature side. Penny Wolf came on board as sales consultant. Since then things have gone awry.
Stewart Clarke, a TV analyst with Informa Telecoms & Media, tells me he suspects Target doesn’t have a distinct enough programming niche, while struggling with the overheads of a medium-to-large size company.
Clarke says: “In the current economic climate, and with all of the consolidation in the TV sector, it’s tough for companies which do not have the scale of a studio or one of the mega-distributors like BBC Worldwide or FremantleMedia.”