Toy maker Funtastic gets takeover bid

Toy maker Funtastic – which owns the Australian licences to Bob the Builder, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine – has received a $133 million takeover bid from a consortium led by private equity firm Archer Capital.

The consortium also includes Craig Mathieson, son of pub baron Bruce Mathieson, and Nir Pizmony, who sold his JNH toy-making business to Funtastic in 2002.

The consortium has struck a deal to buy ABC Learning Centres’ stake in Funtastic. As a result, the consortium already controls 18.8% of Funtastic.

The bid is subject to a number of conditions, including the unanimous approval of the Funastic board and the consortium getting it funding in order. “Funtastic is not in a position to give any assurance that the proposal’s preconditions will be satisfied, that its board’s evaluation will lead to a recommended proposal or that the proposal will proceed,” Funtastic said in a statement.

Funtastic shares slumped from $1.30 in November 2007 to 36.5c in March after it revealed in late 2007 that it was struggling to clear a build-up of inventory. Today’s offer at 80c a share represents a big premium for shareholders, who have seen the stock trade at around 50c in recent weeks.

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