Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and its NBCUniversal division are considering a $16 billion purchase of Britain's ITV broadcast unit, according to numerous reports originating out of the U.K.
ITV is one of four major broadcast networks in the U.K. and the home of international hit British period drama Downton Abbey. The network is 10 percent owned by Liberty Media titan John Malone. Despite dour pronouncements on the future of broadcast television, ITV has been a stellar stock market performer, increasing in value by a factor of 400 percent under chief executive Adam Crozier.
Neither Comcast nor ITV has commented.
The reports come amid a broader belief that, seven months after backing away from its bid to acquire Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) amid regulatory pressure, Comcast is set to make a major purchase.
The conglomerate has been subject to speculation that it might also purchase T-Mobile US (NYSE: TWC) and Yahoo.
"Once it became clear that regulators were going to treat this deal like we were still living in 1985, Comcast executives were smart to realize that wasting a year trying to accommodate regulators' concerns is a colossal waste of time when there are other, more pressing issues to confront," said James McQuivey, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research, earlier this year.
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