ITV said on Friday that it was “no longer actively exploring” an acquisition of All3Media from Warner Bros. Discovery and Liberty Global. In June, the U.K. TV giant, led by CEO Carolyn McCall, had said it was “actively exploring” such a deal.
“There can be no certainty as to whether any transaction will take place, nor as to the terms of any such transaction,” ITV had emphasized back then. “A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”
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.”
Entertainment conglomerates Warner Bros. Discovery and John Malone’s cable and telecom giant Liberty Global have been considering alternatives for their production joint venture All3Media, the largest TV production firm in Britain. Its titles also include the likes of The Traitors and The Tourist, as well as the 2019 film 1917.
Sources have said that the current owners were looking at a potential sale of All3Media, led by CEO Jane Turton, to a third party, but could also decide to have one of them buying out the other’s 50 percent stake.
Potential buyers previously mentioned by industry sources and analysts included ITV, but also the likes of production giants Fremantle and Banijay, as well as private equity firms. A deal for All3Media, which owns more than 50 production banners, including The Tinder Swindler and other documentaries maker Raw, could fetch 1 billion to 1.5 billion pounds ($1.25 billion to $1.87 billion), according to observers.
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.