01 August 2000

Institutional investors in United News & Media are up in arms over the terms of the company’s £1.75 billion sale of its TV assets to Granada Media [WAMN, 28-Jul-00].

The moneymen are less than pleased with the deal struck by UN&M chief executive Lord Hollick and made their feelings abundantly clear at a private meeting shortly after the sale was announced. His Lordship had previously suggested that up to £2 billion might be raised from the disposal of the Anglia, HTV and Meridian ITV franchises, and the block shareholders – among them Mercury Asset Management – feel aggrieved that they have been sold short to the tune of £250m.

Not so, insists Hollick; United shareholders had received “full value” from the deal. His view was backed by Charles Allen, chairman of Granada Media, who opined that the agreed sale was in the mutual best interests both of UN&M and Granada shareholders. [Neither gentleman was crass enough to suggest that shareholders could like it or lump it – but the consensus among analysts is that they will have to do just that.]

News source: The Times (London) [31-Jul-00]