Pearson Television, the TV arm of the UK's Pearson Group, is close finalising a $110m (£70m) deal to buy London production company, TalkBack Productions, according to UK newspaper the Financial Times, which is owned by Pearson.

Several media companies including Endemol and the UK's Carlton Communications are understood to have courted TalkBack, which has a long-term deal with Buena Vista for comedy feature productions.

TalkBack, which was not immediately available for comment, was founded by British comedians Mel Smith, who directed Working Title Films' Bean, and Griff Rhys Jones, who stand to make tens of millions of pounds from the sale.