Peppa Pig-owner Entertainment One rejects ITV's 1 billion-pound offer

Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:27am EDT
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By Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) - Canada's Entertainment One (ETO.L: Quote), the owner of children's TV character Peppa Pig, has rejected a 1 billion-pound ($1.3 billion) takeover offer from British broadcaster ITV (ITV.L: Quote), saying it undervalued the production and distribution company.

Starting life as a Canadian record and tape retailer, eOne now has a place on the London Stock Exchange, boasting a library of rights including more than 40,000 film and television titles, 4,500 hours of television programing and 45,000 music tracks.

The group, which acquired the European licensing rights for the DreamWorks Studios film of Roald Dahl's children's book "The BFG", says its rights alone were independently valued at over $1 billion last year.

"The board of eOne has reviewed the proposal and has unanimously rejected it on the basis that it fundamentally undervalues the company and its prospects," it said.

ITV, Britain's biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, has been buying up production companies, particularly in the drama and reality TV genres, to reduce its reliance on UK TV advertising sales.

Acquiring Toronto-based eOne would bolster its activities in television production and family entertainment as well as giving it an international film distribution business.

"A key part of (our) strategy is continuing to build a scaled international content and global distribution business, with a focus on U.S. scripted content," it said on Wednesday.

"ITV believes that the proposed combination with eOne has a strong strategic rationale and would further accelerate ITV's rebalancing of the business."   Continued...

A company sign is displayed outside an ITV studio in London, Britain July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall