All3Media has dropped out of the running to buy rival production and distribution giant Endemol Shine, Variety has learned.
All3Media, jointly owned by Discovery and Liberty Global, had lately been running the numbers to see if the acquisition made sense. Liberty is building up a huge war chest, having gained approval to offload a raft of cable assets in Europe to Vodafone for $21.5 billion.
But the price tag that Endemol Shine’s owners, Disney and Apollo, have put on the business appears to remain a stumbling block for potential suitors, sources told Variety. Endemol Shine is said to still be looking for $2 billion, while the latest overture from All3Media was below that threshold.
Endemol Shine and All3Media both declined to comment.
Endemol has been on the sales block for at least a year and a half, and the likes of Endeavor Content, Fremantle, Lionsgate and Sony Pictures were all believed to be possible suitors before Banijay took pole position. But talks with Banijay, too, stalled over price, and Endemol Shine’s top brass were then told that the company’s owners had decided to put a sale on hold.
One well-connected source with ties to both companies said Banijay still seems to be a likely home for Endemol Shine as Banijay – controlled by Stephane Courbit’s Lov Group and De Agostini, and minority backed by Vivendi – looks to scale up its business.
In recent weeks, the sales process has heated up again with All3Media emerging as a possible buyer. As a combined entity, All3Media and Endemol Shine would have been a massive international powerhouse, with production assets in the U.S. and throughout Europe. But a merger would also likely result in job losses, as both have sizable and overlapping international sales arms.
The two companies were front and center at Mipcom in Cannes, where a possible marriage between them was the subject of chatter at the market. All3’s distribution arm inked a U.S. deal for the “Van der Valk” detective series it has part-funded and is selling. Endemol Shine International touted David Tennant-starrer “Deadwater Fell” and signed a deal for a revival of “Big Brother” in Greece – one of multiple markets where the reality staple is making a comeback.
Endemol has also ramped up its scripted offering. Choice titles include “Black Mirror,” “Dark” and “Peaky Blinders.”