Banijay Group has pulled back from plans to buy Endemol Shine Group, TBI understands.
It is believed that the two parties, which have been in discussions around a potential deal since last fall, have hit pause on those talks after failing to agree a price point.
Endemol Shine is once again open to other buyers, who may have ultimately benefited from extensive discussions that have served to drive down the price for the Peaky Blinders and Black Mirror producer, which is now valued at around $2.6bn.
TBI understands that Endemol Shine has been implementing ongoing efficiencies for some time in a bid to reduce overheads and bolster its revenue streams.
The business, which is saddled with debt of around $1.9bn, did not attend MIPTV this year, and is focusing on territory visits as it looks to expand format sales for heavy-hitting titles such as All Together Now and Big Bounce Battle.
Endemol Shine is jointly owned by Apollo Global Management and Disney, which took over as co-owner following its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. It is believed that the businesses are still keen to sell the super-indie.
Endemol Shine has been up for sale for close to 18 months, first presented last spring to around 12 companies including Lionsgate, Sony, ITV and Liberty Global. However, one by one, many of these businesses dropped off over the summer, put off by Endemol’s debt and a high price point, which was at that point in excess of $3.2bn.
Banijay Group, which has been aggressively expanding in key markets such as the UK, emerged as the frontrunner to buy Endemol around September, and while it was reported in November that the sale had been suspended, the two businesses kept talking throughout the winter.
It was believed a deal could be struck around MIPTV last month, when talk of a sale reached fever pitch as Banijay chairman Stéphane Courbit and CEO Marco Bassetti discussed a three-prong strategy around achieving scale during a keynote session.
Banijay Group, Endemol Shine Group and Apollo declined to comment.