Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) and Liberty Global’s sale of All3Media was a source of chatter at the Edinburgh TV Festival this week, with senior UK industry insiders saying that ITV’s interest lingers.
ITV has not re-engaged in formal talks with WBD and Liberty Global, but lines of communication remain open. The WBD and Liberty Global deal team has in recent weeks been gathering informal expressions of interest ahead of an official All3Media auction next month.
Sources close to the process say that there has been plenty of interest in the British super producer and ITV is far from the only game in town. But there remains a feeling at All3Media and ITV that an agreement to bring the companies together would make strategic sense for both parties.
There is a gap between the two sides on valuation, but this is not unique to ITV. Other potential suitors have privately said All3Media is overpriced and weighed down by its £760M debt pile.
The U.S. strikes have not helped this perception, sources said. The industrial disputes have also failed to spark a rush to unscripted, an All3Media strong suit given its ownership of companies including Studio Lambert.
ITV signaled to shareholders last month that it had not abandoned the deal, telling investors that it would continue to “monitor” the situation, even if it was “no longer actively exploring” an acquisition.
Other interested parties are thought to include Banijay and Sony Pictures. RTL-owned Fremantle is not said to be in the race.
All3Media, which has around 50 production labels, has been under WBD (then Discovery) and Liberty Global’s control for nearly a decade after selling to the U.S. media giants in 2014.
ITV, All3Media, WBD, and Liberty Global declined to comment.
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