ITV tunes in to Peppa Pig phenomenon

Today has seen ITV, the UK’s largest independent broadcaster, linked to a possible takeover of Entertainment One, the Canadian film and TV distribution company which also happens to own a majority stake in the Peppa Pig cartoon franchise. Whilst Entertainment One are denying reports of any approach, press reports are citing “sources” close to the deal as saying preliminary talks have been held. The last couple of years have seen ITV undertake a fairly prolific buying spree, with nine deals since February 2014 and another four between 2012 and 2013, the largest of which by far was their GBP 811m acquisition of the Dutch company Talpa Media.  ITV’s buying spree is a result of it wanting to acquire content rich businesses that ultimately reduce its dependence on advertising-derived revenue, so it’s perhaps not surprising that they have been linked with Entertainment One, since it underwent a new debt raising exercise at the end of 2015.

Media analysts seems divided as to whether or not the deal makes strategic or financial sense to ITV, but on the face of it if ITV are a willing buyer and Entertainment One become a willing seller, Peppa Pig might find herself a new home in the land of Britain’s Got Talent and Downton Abbey.