ITV rises on possibility of Endemol bid

Shares increase 13%, but remain near all-time low

LONDON -- Shares in ITV soared Monday on reports that Dutch format producer Endemol has refused to rule out the possibility of a bid. But while the shares jumped 13%, to almost 43 pence (86 cents), they remained near ITV's all-time low and analysts were quick to cast doubt on the possibility of a deal.

"In our view, Endemol would not be able to finance a bid and Mediaset has dismissed suggestions that it is interested in ITV," UBS analyst Daniel Kerven said in an investment note.

"While Endemol could be interested in ITV's content business, we believe it is unlikely to be interested in ITV's broadcasting assets," he added.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Endemol co-founder and joint owner John de Mol said that a bid for ITV was "an example of a combination that could make sense depending on numbers."

Endemol was acquired by Mediaset, John de Mol and Goldman Sachs for £2.5 billion ($5 billion) last year.

"I wouldn't want to exclude it, but the alternatives are that we follow the strategy we have," de Mol told the paper.

The earlier appointment of former Fox Kids Europe CEO Ynon Kreiz to the post of global chief executive of Endemol also is likely to spur speculation that the company might consider a bid.

Kreiz, most recently a partner in European venture capital investment firm Balderton Capital, worked with Haim Saban on the acquisition of Germany's Pro Sieben Sat 1.

Mediaset, Endemol and ITV refused comment.
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