The German media group, which also owns a slew of networks including France’s M6, Germany’s RTL and Spain’s Antena3, was understood to be one of a number of conglomerates eyeing a billion dollar deal for the Big Brother and Black Mirror owner.
However, RTL CEO Bert Habets told Reuters that it had “stepped out of the process”.
He added, “At Fremantle, we focus on expanding our scripted output – and we are very successful in doing so. We aim to grow the business going forward in the scripted and unscripted domain by small- and medium-sized acquisitions.”
FremantleMedia has been relatively acquisitive in the last few years but most of its purchases have been smaller European producers and deals to establish new indies with producers and commissioners. Last week, the American Gods producer revealed the scale of its drama growth, claiming that scripted series will generate 20% of FremantleMedia’s revenue in 2019 as it seeks funding for 35 scripted series and launches nearly a dozen international scripted production hubs.
This comes after Deadline revealed back in April that the superindie, which also owns formats including MasterChef and produces dramas such as Peaky Blinders, was on the block with a slew of companies including ITV, Liberty Global and Banijay owner Vivendi considering a deal.
In July, 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.
Earlier this summer, Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said at the Series Fest event that it was “tiptoeing” into the content business and it “would be surprising if we didn’t look at it through All3Media”. Other names in the frame have included Hollywood studios such as Sony and Lionsgate.
The sale process is thought to still be ongoing.