Southern Star put up for sale

Australian producer and distributor Southern Star has been put up for sale by its corporate parent Fairfax Media.

FremantleMedia, Endemol and BBC Worldwide are all reported to be interested in the business and Fremantle is reported to have already approached the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about a possible purchase.

Fairfax Media announced to the Australian Stock Exchange: “For several months, together with Southern Star’s management, we have been exploring options to further improve the business and maximise the company’s value. This could involve a trade sale, strategic partnership or retaining Southern Star within Fairfax Media.”

Southern Star produces dramas such as Out of the Blue, which was commissioned by British public broadcaster the BBC and also airs on Australia’s Network Ten, and successful kids live action series Hi-5. It also operates a joint venture production arm Endemol Southern Star that produces a range of hit international formats such as Big Brother and Deal or No Deal. Southern Star International, its worldwide distribution arm also sells hit shows such as Home and Away and Wire in the Blood.

Southern Star recently sold its 75% stake in UK indie Carnival Films to NBC Universal. It also owns stakes in factual producer Oxford Scientific Films and kids producer Darrall Macqueen.

There has been much corporate activity in Australia in the last 12 months including FremantleMedia’s purchase of a 20% stake in Beyond International, while BBCWW bought a 25% stake in indie Freehand last year.