Britain's ITV will no longer "actively exploring" the possible acquisition of All3Media, the broadcaster and entertainment company said on Friday. ITV said, however, it continued to monitor All3Media, the production company behind the popular "Midsomer Murders" and "Fleabag," whose current owners are Warner Bros Discovery and Liberty Global. "ITV assesses all potential value-creating M&A opportunities against its strict financial criteria and disciplined capital allocation framework," Britain's biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster said in a statement.
This announcement, in the form of a statement to the London Stock Exchange, came early on Friday London time. "ITV plc confirms it continues to monitor but is no longer actively exploring the possible acquisition of All3Media," the company said. And it highlighted: "ITV plc assesses all potential value-creating M&A opportunities against its strict financial criteria and disciplined capital allocation framework."
Reuters first reported the potential tie-up between ITV and All3Media in June. One option for ITV would have been buying Warner Brothers' stake. ITV has grown its production unit ITV Studios, which produces "Love Island," to offset more volatile revenue from its advertising-dependent TV channels and streaming service. Citi analysts said that while buying All3Media would have made sense for ITV, it would also have pushed up debt to "an uncomfortably high level" in a year of peak investment. "This doesn't mean that further M&A in content production at a later date might not make sense, but overall we think it is sensible for ITV to keep its powder dry for now," they said.
In 2014, what was then Discovery and Liberty Global agreed to jointly acquire All3Media in a deal that put an enterprise value of about $930 million on the company. With the 2022 merger of Discovery with AT&T's WarnerMedia to form Warner Bros. Discovery, led by CEO David Zaslav, the company now owns a big Hollywood TV studio in addition to HBO, making the ownership of half of All3Media less appealing to the conglomerate.
Further to its announcement on 16 June 2023, ITV plc confirms it continues to monitor but is no longer actively exploring the possible acquisition of All3Media.” ITV PLC