ITV refuses to comment on move for Big Brother producer Endemol

30th August 2011

The Dutch-based production company is already one third owned by MediaSet. But its backers include GS Capital Partners, a Goldman Sachs subsidiary, and founder John de Mol's investment vehicle Cyrte.

However later this morning the Guardian reported that a lack of a stock market announcement led to ITV's share price falling back.

Endemol is heavily in debt, to the tune of £1.77bn, and is thought it may attempt a debt for equity swap with some of its backers.

ITV, formed by the merger of many regional ITV stations, such as Carlton and Granada, has been in the stock market doldrums for a long time squeezed between the BBC and BskyB and analysts might have been hoping for some signs of a new strategy from the firm.

The Telegraph quoted one unnamed source saying: "Adam Crozier [the chief executive of ITV] has got to do something if he is going to deliver his strategy of diversifying revenue away from advertising income. Charging for the odd online episode of Coronation Street is not where it's at, but taking ownership of Endemol is a solution."

Here earlier in the year, the Guardian reports on that strategy, which includes micropayments, writing that the broadcaster had been experimenting with different online viewing models with "register-to-view trials" for Champions League matches, Indian Premier League games, The Only Way is Essex and webisodes of Coronation Street."

There was some better news for shareholders at the time of that announcement in July when the firm paid its first dividend of since 2008, albeit a relatively lowly 0.4p.

Meanwhile on television trade website Televisual, Sky 1 controller Stuart Murphy was telling colleagues and rivals at the Edinburgh International Television Festival that he needed to make terrestrial television viewers feel inadequate for not subscribing to Sky.

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