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ITV has pulled out of the running to acquire Big Brother and Black Mirror producer Endemol Shine Group.
The British commercial broadcaster had been linked with a bid for the company, which is owned by Apollo Global and 21st Century Fox, but today sent a note to investors that stated, “In light of continued press speculation, ITV confirms that it has no current intention of making a bid for Endemol Shine Group”.
In July, ITV CEO Carolyn McCall told Deadline that it would look at acquisitions but it would be “very disciplined” about purchases – Endemol Shine has been valued at between $2B and $3B. McCall told Deadline, “We’ve had a very effective strategy of diversifying away from advertising, not because we don’t like it, but because it’s a cyclical business. We have made a lot of acquisitions and have doubled the size of the [ITV Studios] business in the last five years. We are going to continue to grow organically and that we will look at M&A, although we don’t comment on specific opportunities. We will look at M&A in a very disciplined way and a very returns focused way.”
In July, Apollo Global and 21st Century Fox hired Deutsche Bank and Liontree to advise on a sale. Other bidders thought to have weighed up a bud include All3Media co-owner Liberty Global and Vivendi-backed Banijay. However, BBC Studios and Fremantle owner RTL have both in recent weeks ruled out bidding for the superindie.
In recent weeks, there was much speculation that talent firm Endeavor had become a prospective buyer. The company did lodge a bid in the early stages of the process but sources close to the business said that it was “very, very unlikely” that it ends up moving forward on a deal.
Last month, Endemol Shine Chief Creative Officer Peter Salmon told the Royal Television Society London conference that he expected the deal to be done in a “month or two”.
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