According to survey after survey, Comcast is one of the least liked companies in America. And now, according to multiple reports, the company may soon make its way to our friends across the pond — though thankfully, perhaps, not as an Internet service provider. According to reports from British news sites, Comcast and its NBCUniversal division are considering an acquisition of UK broadcaster ITV. The deal would be valued at more than $16 billion, if the rumors are accurate, and it would give Comcast control of one of the fastest-growing broadcasters in Britain.
UK-based news site Advanced Television reports that Comcast’s NBCUniversal is mulling a bid of nearly $16.4 billion for ITV, which is one of the four major broadcast networks in the country. In the United States, readers may recognize the name as the home to the hit British period series Downtown Abbey, the sixth and final season of which is set to premiere on January 3rd.
FierceCable notes that both Comcast and ITV have declined to comment, but the report follows a number of rumors that suggested Comcast is currently on the hunt for a major deal following the collapse of its bid to merge with Time Warner Cable. Earlier rumors have suggested that both T-Mobile and Yahoo could be potential takeover targets for Comcast.
ITV has long been rumored to be a possible acquisition target for a number of firms, and Jon Malone’s Liberty Media currently owns a 9.9% stake, up from the initial 6.4% stake the company bought in mid-2014. Liberty Media has confirmed that it does not intend to bid to acquire ITV, which has seen its stock price rise 400% since current CEO Adam Crozier took the reins.
UPDATE: Comcast spokesman John Demming told Philly.com that reports suggesting the company is considering an ITV bid are “just completely inaccurate.”