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ITV CEO declines comment on Endemol Shine, will be 'very disciplined' on deals

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LONDON (Reuters) – The chief executive of ITV <ITV.L>, Britain’s biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, declined to say whether it had bid for Netherlands-based production company Endemol Shine, but she said it would take a disciplined approach to any deals.

ITV Chief Executive Carolyn McCall told the Royal Television Society London Conference on Tuesday that her focus was on consolidating ITV’s Studios business, the production arm her predecessor Adam Crozier built up through a string of acquisitions.

“I think we are currently consolidating what we’ve got, because Adam doubled the Studios business in five years, so within that, that’s quite a lot you can do to make it operate more efficiently,” she said.

The Sunday Times reported that ITV had entered the bidding for Endemol Shine, the production company that makes “Big Brother” and “Masterchef” which has been put up for sale by owners private equity firm Apollo and Twenty-First Century Fox <FOXA.O>.

Asked whether ITV was interested in Endemol, McCall said the company never commented on speculation.

But she added that any deal had to stack up financially.

“The most important thing for us is that we can organically grow studios – because you know we have grown it about 5 percent a year – and whatever we looked at from now onwards in studios would have to be very financially disciplined,” she said.

Endemol Shine has been valued at between $2 billion to $4 billion, according to reports.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle, editing by Sarah Young)

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