ITV bid fails to materialize

Reports of a joint bid between U.K. terrestrial web ITV and Italy’s Mediaset for debt-ridden TV production giant Endemol appear to be premature.

ITV’s stock price rose 5% in early trading in London on Tuesday but later fell back as investors cooled toward the rumor, first reported in the Daily Telegraph.

“We do not comment on speculation,” said a spokesman for ITV, which is diversifying its revenue streams to avoid a repeat of its situation in 2009, when a slump in advertising coin led to deep cuts at the free-to-air broadcaster.

Beefing up production is part of ITV chief exec Adam Crozier’s turnaround strategy, so acquiring a world-class producer like Endemol makes sense — provided the deal is right.

Endemol, €2 billion ($2.8 billion) in debt, is owned by Mediaset, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Dutch investment group Cyrte, which has links to Endemol co-founder John de Mol.

Endemol CEO Ynon Kreiz ankled in June following three difficult years for the “Big Brother” producer. There is speculation that de Mol is interested in the job.

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