ITV Chief Executive Carolyn McCall was always going to face the elephant in the room over its interest in Endemol Shine during the Royal Television Society’s London conference. Especially as she was being interviewed on stage by former ESG President Tim Hincks.
However, unsurprisingly McCall avoided revealing all when asked for details about the British commercial broadcaster’s move to pay somewhere between $2B-$3B for the MasterChef and Black Mirror producer.
“That’s speculation and we never comment on that,” she said. “The most important thing for us is that we can organically grow Studios and whatever we looked at from now on would have to be financially disciplined.
“We’re incredibly disciplined about any acquisition we make, small or large.”
It emerged over the weekend that ITV had officially entered the bidding process – six months after Deadline first revealed interest.
Later in the day, Endemol Shine Chief Creative Officer Peter Salmon told the RTS conference that he expected the deal to be done in a “month or two”.
In July, Endemol Shine owners Apollo Global and 21st Century Fox hired Deutsche Bank and Liontree to advise on a sale. Other bidders are thought to include All3Media co-owner Liberty Global, ITV and Vivendi-backed Banijay. However, BBC Studios and Fremantle owner RTL have both in recent weeks ruled out bidding for the superindie.
If ITV was to acquire Endemol Shine, it would be a transformative deal for ITV and would be a major statement by McCall, who joined at the start of the year. It would bring together global formats such as ITV’s Love Island and Netflix breakout Queer Eye with Endemol Shine’s own library of entertainment hits. It would also reunite John De Mol with the company that he founded. De Mol sold The Voice producer Talpa Media to ITV in 2015. ITV Chairman Peter Bazalgette also knows the business well, having sold his own indie to the company, prior to its merger with Shine, and worked as chief creative officer and UK chairman under former owners Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica.
Next up for McCall is Mipcom in October, it will be interesting to see if a sale has happened by then.