The firm behind the hugely successful children's TV show Peppa Pig has rejected a £1bn takeover bid from ITV.
In a stock exchange announcement this morning, Entertainment One (EOne) said that the offer of 236p per share “fundamentally undervalues” the company, adding that its board had unanimously rejected the bid.
ITV later confirmed it was behind the bid.
The broadcaster said in a statement: "The proposal represents a significant premium over the undisturbed EOne share price, prior to the impact of recent bid speculation.
"ITV has a clear strategy that, over recent years, has created significant value for shareholders. A key part of that strategy is continuing to build a scaled international content and global distribution business, with a focus on US scripted content. ITV believes that the proposed combination with EOne has strong strategic rationale and would further accelerate ITV's rebalancing of the business."
Speculation of a deal had seen the Canadian film distributor's share price climb throughout Tuesday from a Monday close of 198.40p to 217.50p at the end of trading yesterday.
It marks the firm's highest close price since November 2015.
In addition to the children's animation, Entertainment One is also responsible for US drama Fear the Walking Dead, and the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight.
Analysts at Liberum speculated that EOne shareholders would be after an offer or more than 300p per share but said ITV “may not be prepared” to go that far.
A note by Ian Whittaker also speculated that ITV might not be interested in all of EOne, suggesting the broadcaster “may only want the TV assets” rather than the film assets.
The note added: “A more interesting question is whether ITV would want to retain the ‘Peppa Pig’ franchise or would look to sell it to a more children’s-orientated company.”