It is the second high-profile television conglomerate to rule out a bid for the MasterChef and Black Mirror producer after Fremantle owner RTL revealed that it had “stepped out of the process”
Chief Executive Tim Davie, speaking at the IBC technology conference in Amsterdam, said, “No we won’t [buy Endemol Shine] because we are very focused on premium British content. We’re suitable scaled in certain areas.”
Earlier this year, Endemol Shine owners Apollo Global and 21st Century Fox hired Deutsche Bank and Liontree to advise on a deal, which could value the Masterchef owner anywhere between $2B-$3B. Companies thought to be in the bidding process including ITV, All3Media co-owner Liberty Global and Vivendi-backed Banijay.
Davie said that BBC Studios, which produces series such as Planet Earth and Strictly Come Dancing and owns stakes in a raft of indies including Killing Eve producer Sid Gentle, has “chosen where [it] wants to be competitive”. “We are big-small. We are a global company driven by British creativity. I’m not going to be out there buying lots of big businesses around the world in terms of production businesses, I’m going to be focused on British IP. You have to be very clear about where you use your money,” he added.
He admitted that there’s heavy competition in a world of Netflixes and Amazons but said that there was still growth in content spend, highlighting pay-TV growth
“It’s going to be quite brutal… in terms of who can secure talent,” he said. “This business tends to be relatively simple if you’ve got hits. It’s not rocket science.”
During the panel, Davie also revealed that BBC Studios has partnered with Misfits and The End of the Fxxking World producer Clerkenwell Films and financier Anton to develop and fund a slate of high-end, short-form drama and comedy projects. The deal will see the creation of premium, high volume, short-form content produced for digital and linear platforms, with additional funds set aside to self-commission.
“We’re moving into the [short-form] space quite rapidly. We’ve seen a number of players raising funds. We’re putting a pretty significant amount of money to produce quite powerful short-form content. It’s enough [money] to do some series stuff,” he said.