Nice Entertainment is turning into quite the acquisition target. I’ve learned that American Idol parent CORE Media Group has joined the list of potential suitors for the Scandinavian production company. CORE had signaled commitment to adding international presence to its U.S. operations, and I hear the company’s international team has had a number of meetings with key Nice executives over the course of several months. Other companies that are reportedly looking at Nice are UK’s leading private broadcaster ITV, said to be mulling a $135 bid, as well as Fremantle, Sony and Time Warner.
The Helsinki-based Nice, which has branches in Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden, is the largest independent group of production companies in the Nordic region and is the No.1 producer in two of the markets, Finland and Norway. The company makes both drama and reality series with a portfolio that includes Hidden Tracks, The Half Brother, Babes On The Bus and Celebrity Babysitter. Nice is 65% owned by leading Nordic private equity house CapMan, which reportedly is looking to sell, with the remaining 35% under local management. Under president Marc Graboff, CORE has been actively acquiring, buying Sharp Entertainment (Extreme Couponing, Doomsday Preppers) and taking ownership stake in Rhett Bachner and Brien Meagher’s B17. CORE also launched scripted production venture with veteran Canadian producer Noreen Halpern.