ITV CEO Carolyn McCall: Timing For Endemol Shine Purchase “Did Not Feel Right”

Carolyn McCall

ITV Chief Executive Carolyn McCall said that buying Black Mirror and Big Brother producer Endemol Shine would have “made sense” but the “timing did not feel right”.

This comes after the British commercial broadcaster stepped out of the process to acquire the 21st Century Fox and Apollo-owned superindie. Earlier this month, the company said, “In light of continued press speculation, ITV confirms that it has no current intention of making a bid for Endemol Shine Group”.

McCall, speaking with Deadine at Mipcom, where the former Easyjet boss is set to give a keynote speech, went into more detail.

“It’s not that Endemol Shine wasn’t a good fit, we know the studio business inside out, we’ve looked through some of the books, I can’t really talk about the process. It would have made sense, our shareholders would have expected us to look at it, it’d be ridiculous not to look at an adjacency that close to us. There are many factors that made us say we won’t bid and that was after a lot of very hard work on our part. We didn’t even get on to price. The timing did not feel right,” she said. “We have to be very disciplined. If we did something at scale, which we’re not frightened of, we’d do it if it was absolutely right and we’d be very rational about it.”

McCall and ITV Studios boss Julian Bellamy also discussed the U.S. scripted market and its plans to ramp up working with creative talent such as Tomorrow Studios boss Marty Adelstein and Jason Blum, whose Blumhouse Television ITV bought a 45% stake in last year.

“What we’re doing in US scripted is working,” McCall told Deadline.  When we looked at the strategy, our shareholders didn’t really understand what we were doing in the US. It’s a collection of talented individuals. We want to nurture talent. We take away a lot of the rubbish that companies have to deal with and focus on creativity. That’s what appeals to [the likes of] Marty Adelstein. It’s looking for more talent in America. Large scale scripted acquisitions in the US are very high risk. It’s very expensive and you’re inheriting infrastructure and we don’t need to do that.”

Bellamy pointed to Snowpiercer, the futuristic action drama adaptation for TNT and Netflix. The former Discovery exec said that it was focused on organic growth in the country. “In a funny sort of way in the US we’re much more of a disruptor,” he added.

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