Discovery CEO: Buying ITV Would Be a "Big Bite for Us"

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav company photo - P 2016
Courtesy of Discovery Communications

David Zaslav also discusses hurdles to a possible takeover of U.K. broadcaster Channel 4.

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav says the company would be interested in looking at buying U.K. TV giant ITV and British broadcaster Channel 4, but adds that there are key hurdles making a deal for either unlikely.

Broadcast on Thursday quoted Zaslav as saying he was open to a big broadcast network acquisition in Britain, which is Discovery's most important market outside the U.S.

Discovery in 2014 bowed out of the bidding process for broadcaster Channel 5, citing the price tag had gotten too high. Viacom ended up buying the company for $725 million.

Discussing ITV, Zaslav lauded CEO Adam Crozier and his team, but said its stock price gains in recent years would make a takeover expensive. “It would be a big bite for us,” he told Broadcast. Crozier has said the company was not looking to be acquired, but was operating its business with a focus on growing it.

If Channel 4 became available, the Discovery boss said “we would look" at it, but cited its public service obligations as a hurdle. “What we want is to be able to add value, and it’s not clear what we could do with C4 given the requirements,” Broadcast quoted Zaslav as saying.