ITV stock up on talk of bid by Endemol

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Shares of 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), 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.

"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 a bid for ITV was "an example of a combination that could make sense depending on numbers."

Endemol was acquired by Mediaset, de Mol and Goldman Sachs last year for £2.5 billion.

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

The appointment of former Fox Kids Europe CEO Ynon Kreiz to global CEO 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 ProSiebenSat1.

Mediaset, Endemol and ITV declined comment.(partialdiff)
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