In a statement issued this morning, the UK commercial network said it “continues to monitor but is no longer actively exploring the possible acquisition” of the indie production giant, which is owned by Warner Bros Discovery and Liberty Global.
It didn’t give a specific reason for the change of heart, but added: “ITV plc assesses all potential value-creating M&A opportunities against its strict financial criteria and disciplined capital allocation framework.”
A month ago, ITV confirmed reports it was “actively exploring” a deal for All3 in a bid estimated to be worth around £1B ($1.3B).
That came after The Daily Telegraph first revealed in May that Warner Bros. Discovery and Liberty Global had engaged bankers at JP Morgan to conduct an auction for All3Media.
ITV, the UK’s biggest ad-funded broadcaster, has been diversifying into production over the past decade. It has an extensive in-house division in the UK that makes I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and soap Coronation Street. Internationally it has production bases around the world, and its U.S. business ITV America is a major player in unscripted TV.
ITV Studios also has a suite of subsidiary UK production firms, including Line of Duty maker World Productions and The Serpent producer Mammoth Screen, plus many international companies such as Gomorrah producer Cattleya and Denmark’s Apple Tree Productions.
Since the news broke, several invested sources have speculated whether a deal would concern competition regulators in the UK. The combined group would have had a huge UK footprint, including numerous All3 companies such as The Traitors producer Studio Lambert and 1917 maker Neal Street Productions. Both ITV and All3 also have extensive distribution businesses, amounting to tens of thousands of hours.
In total, All3 has has around 50 production labels that make shows including Fleabag, The Tinder Swindler and upcoming Netflix show Squid Game: The Challenge.
All3Media has been under Discovery and Liberty Global’s control for nearly a decade after selling to the U.S. media giants for £500M in 2004. Discovery merged with Warner Bros. last year.
The company’s revenues rocketed 17% to £1B ($1.3B) last year, as we revealed in late June. EBITDA shot up by a similar proportion to £100M and total group operating profit was up from £26M to £40M.
ITV is due to release its half-year financials in two weeks. Its full year figures for 2022 saw total external revenue grow 8% to £3.7B though EBITA dropped 12% to £717M.