ITV talked up as post-Brexit vote foreign takeover target

William Turvill
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ITV last week reported an 11 per cent rise in revenue in the first half of 2016 (Source: Getty)

Downton Abbey broadcaster ITV is being talked up as a foreign takeover target in the aftermath of the UK’s Brexit vote.

The company, which currently has a market capitalisation of £7.8bn, has been linked by analysts with moves from the US and Europe.

Alex DeGroote, a media analyst at Peel Hunt, told City A.M.: “It certainly fits the bill with being a strategic asset. Impossible to duplicate, with really lasting trophy asset value.

Read more: ITV targets £25m in savings after Brexit vote

“It’s very profitable, and it’s very well invested, and it’s front of mind for the UK media sector – in the same way that Arm [the UK chip maker that Japan’s SoftBank has agreed to acquire for £24.3bn], I’m sure, would be in the technology space.”

He suggested interest could come from the US, bearing in mind the sterling’s decline against the dollar.

DeGroote added: “Opportunistically it would be a good time to look at ITV, I think.”

He said that any of the big US broadcasters, such as CBS and Comcast, could be interested.

Read more: ITV offloads UTV Ireland to Virgin Media

Liberum analysts Ian Whittaker and Annick Maas, meanwhile, speculated in a note this morning that European broadcasters RTL and Liberty could take an interest in different ITV assets.

In the US, Comcast’s entertainment arm NBCUniversal was linked with a move for ITV last year.

But the broadcaster ruled out the prospect of a bid in December, describing the speculation as “completely inaccurate”.

ITV declined to comment.

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