Advanced Television

Survey: ITV, Eutelsat are takeover targets

January 18, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Bloomberg, in what investment bank Exane/BNPP describes as an “informal survey”, has suggested that Eutelsat and ITV are “most likely takeover” candidates.

The bank suggests that ITV has been in the Bloomberg poll fairly frequently over the past ten years.

Other companies named as possible takeover targets include KPN, Telecom Italia, Invit, Nokia, ProSiebenSat. 1 and Ubisoft also making the list although further down in terms of likelihood. Bloomberg created its list as a result of a survey of Fund Managers, Analysts, Brokers and M&A Desks at investment banks.

The bank adds that it is reasonably bullish on ITV based on likely advertising upgrades to come and a different kind of M&A, namely that a Channel 4 takeover deal is likely to be done in 2022.

“Arguably, the focus will be on H2 here as the government may want to wait first for the decision around RTL’s mergers in France between TF1 and M6 and in Holland between RTL and Talpa. Both these entities would create new broadcasters with over 60 per cent market share. We believe national TV synergies could be very meaningful, conditional on there not being too many restrictions from the government,” says the bank.

However, Exane/BNPP admits it is now more dubious on any takeover activity at Eutelsat. The flurry of excitement last September with Patrick Drahi mounting a bid for Eutelsat has long since died down with the commensurate retreat of Eutelsat’s share price. The bank says that Drahi is now focussed on the pursuit of BT and ATUS.

“That said, the satellite industry has entered the age of mega constellation. The best chance incumbent operators have to compete against SpaceX or Amazon Kuiper is to build scale and invest in a multi-orbit, multi-band next generation infrastructure. Eutelsat/OneWeb and SES are the most advanced in terms of deploying such a system. This could be medium to long term done via consolidation but we do not believe the Viasat/Inmarsat merger fundamentally changes the competitive dynamics for Eutelsat or SES.”

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