British commercial broadcaster ITV says it is no longer “actively exploring” a potential acquisition of production company All3 Media, but hasn’t ruled out a purchase entirely.
Instead, ITV affirms it will continue to look at All3 Media and its various shows, including “Midsomer Murders,” “Gogglebox” and “Fleabag” as it looks for ways to incorporate more production firms into its media portfolio.
“ITV assesses all potential value-creating [mergers and acquisitions, or M&A] opportunities against its strict financial criteria and disciplined capital allocation framework,” a spokesperson for ITV said in a statement.
Financial publication Reuters earlier reported that ITV was considering a deal that would have seen it acquire Warner Bros Discovery’s 50 percent stake in the venture, which would have left Liberty Global as a partial owner.
Analysts with Citi said a deal between ITV and All3 Media made financial sense, but would have driven up ITV’s debt to “an uncomfortably high level” at a time of peak investment and economic uncertainty.
“This doesn’t mean that further M&A in content production at a later date might not make sense, but overall we think it is sensible for ITV to keep its powder dry for now,” the analysts said, according to Reuters.
ITV is the United Kingdom’s largest broadcast or free-to-air, terrestrial television channels.