Film and TV giant Entertainment One, known as eOne, has rejected a £1.03 billion ($1.35 billion) takeover offer from U.K. television group ITV.
“The board of eOne has reviewed the proposal and has unanimously rejected it on the basis that it fundamentally undervalues the company and its prospects,” eOne said in a statement.
The ITV bid valued eOne at 236 pence ($3.08) per share. Entertainment One shares were trading at 233 pence ($3.03) on Wednesday morning.
Entertainment One, which is headquartered in Toronto but listed in London, is the majority owner of Astley Baker Davies, the company behind animation franchise Peppa Pig. It also holds a 51% stake in the Mark Gordon Company, which produces medical series “Grey’s Anatomy.” The company also has film distribution operations in the U.K., Canada, Spain, the Benelux, Australia and New Zealand. It is a partner alongside Steven Spielberg, Participant Media and Reliance Entertainment in Amblin Partners, which produced Spielberg’s “The BFG.”
ITV, which is the leading commercial broadcaster in the U.K., has been on a buying spree in recent years in a bid to reduce its reliance on advertising. It has invested in a series of production companies, including John de Mol’s Talpa Media, which produces “The Voice.” ITV’s U.S. production company investments have included controlling stakes in Gurney Prods., Thinkfactory Media, DiGa Vision, High Noon Entertainment and Leftfield Entertainment Group. The investments have been the realization of ITV’s five-year “transformation plan,” which was put in place in August 2010, and renewed in July 2014.
In a statement released Wednesday, ITV said: “ITV has a clear strategy that, over recent years, has created significant value for shareholders. A key part of that strategy is continuing to build a scaled international content and global distribution business, with a focus on U.S. scripted content. ITV believes that the proposed combination with eOne has strong strategic rationale and would further accelerate ITV’s rebalancing of the business.”
ITV recently revealed plans to slash £25 million ($32.6 million) in overhead costs for next year — including some jobs — in response to the uncertainty provoked by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.