THE maker of hit television shows Supernanny and Who Do You Think You Are? today said talks over a potential sale were "advancing" as it reported back after a tough year for the broadcast sector.
Shed Media held underlying annual profits at £12 million, compared with £11.9 million in 2008, and said 2010 had started well despite ongoing challenges in a market hit by cutbacks due to plunging advertising revenues.
Negotiations are ongoing with its takeover suitors - a buy-out consortium made up of Bowmark Capital, Darwin Private Equity and members of its management team.
Shed’s independent directors have been reviewing the consortium’s approach since December.
Four directors including chief executive Nick Southgate own almost a third of the business, which is valued at around £68 million.
Both members of the potential buy-out team have previous experience in the media sector. Bowmark owned a 20% stake in Wife Swap maker RDF Media until 2005, while Darwin was a previous investor in production and distribution firm All3Media.
Shed - which is the owner of production houses Wall To Wall, Twenty Twenty and Outright - said the broadcast market ``continues to be nervous'', with commissioning still under pressure in the wake of one of the industry's worst advertising slumps.
However, of its 2010 targets, it already has 64% of production revenue commissioned and 68% of intellectual property gross profits secured.
The BBC has re-commissioned Shed for a seventh series of school drama Waterloo Road this year, while it will also deliver another series of Who Do You Think You Are? and New Tricks featuring Amanda Redman.
New shows due for 2010 include High Street Dreams - a prime-time BBC series, which will take an in-depth look at shopping over the past 140 years.
Nick Southgate, chief executive of Shed, said the group had produced a "solid" set of results for 2009 in tough conditions.
"Against a backdrop of the worst advertising recession in a generation and, in the BBC, a public broadcaster looking for across the board savings in programme costs, Shed performed extremely well," he said.
He added: "The group had a good 2009 and we have had a good start to 2010."
The group grew revenues by 13% to £92.6 million and has been expanding its business in America, where it has attracted increasing popularity for its US version of Who Do You Think You Are? and Supernanny US.
It delivered 250 hours of programming, of which 100 were in the US, up from 64 in 2008.