British Film Effects Producer DNEG Said to Mull Stake Sale

DNEG, the British producer of visual effects for films, is considering selling a stake after shelving plans for an initial public offering in London last year, people familiar with the matter said.

The company is working with JPMorgan Chase & Co. on funding options, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. DNEG plans to reach out to a select group of investors about a potential stake sale, which could value the business at as much as 700 million pounds ($914 million), the people said.

DNEG counts Walt Disney Co., Inc., ITV Plc and Comcast Corp.’s Sky among its customers. It has produced effects for films including “Sherlock Holmes,” “The Dark Knight” and the upcoming adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction classic “Dune,” according to its website.

Any transaction will add to the $20 billion of deals targeting the media and entertainment industry this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Deliberations are at an early stage, and no final decisions have been made, the people said.

Representatives for DNEG and JPMorgan declined to comment.

DNEG was seeking a valuation of as much as 666 million pounds from its IPO last year, which was led by JPMorgan. It pulled the deal in November on the day its shares were slated to start trading, citing market conditions.

The scrapped listing came at a time of uncertainty over the U.K.’s planned exit from the European Union. The company said at the time it had received a strong investor interest and would consider reviving the IPO when the situation improved. Since then, the global coronavirus pandemic has hit the entertainment industry and roiled public markets, making it harder for DNEG to revisit its listing plan.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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