ITV CEO Reiterates Company Has No Sale Plans, Talks Discovery Deal Chatter
"Consolidation is done by us," says Adam Crozier on the final day of a big U.K. TV industry conference.
Talk about the future of U.K. TV giant ITV and its possible acquisition by a U.S. company briefly took the spotlight Friday, the last day of the biennial Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention.
During the final panel discussion, ITV CEO Adam Crozier was asked about recurring chatter that a U.S. entertainment giant could buy the company since John Malone's Liberty Global first bought a stake in ITV. Some have suggested that Liberty Global or Discovery Communications, in which Malone also owns a stake, could look at buying control of ITV, which could get a higher price tag for growing in recent years.
Crozier said ITV already has a lot of U.S. shareholders, and they care most about management running "a successful company." And he reiterated recent comments that "consolidation is done by us," and that a sale was not management's goal.
He added that he was aware of the Discovery rumors, but added: "One day, we may be interested in buying them." Observers believed he was joking.
Crozier said ITV's expansion of its TV production business via acquisitions was good as it underlined the company's focus on growth. He had recently said that ITV would continue to look for acquisition opportunities, saying "we are one of the consolidators" and emphasizing his confidence in the company's outlook as an independent company.
Echoing a theme that has been a big topic in the U.S. entertainment industry, Crozier on Friday also said that TV viewing was "vastly undermeasured," adding that once that issue was addressed, people could better see the true health of the sector.
He also commented on the debate about whether making TV content available online helps or detracts from TV viewing, saying ITV has found it helps.