Brit Media Moguls Bury Hatchet Over Aborted Merger

15 May 2002

Michael Green and Lord Clive Hollick, respectively chairman and chief executive of Carlton Communications and United Business Media, have smoked the pipe of peace in a £30 million legal spat.

The lawsuit arose out of the aborted merger between the duo’s TV assets two years ago. Intervention by the competition regulator required UBM (or United News & Media as it was then known) to exclude from the deal its flagship Meridian ITV franchise.

The marriage was promptly abandoned on grounds that the exclusion “undermined the merger's rationale and significantly reduced benefits to shareholders”.

But within weeks UN&M sold its entire ITV portfolio – including the lucrative Meridian licence – for £1.75 billion to Carlton’s main rival Granada Media, thereby boosting the latter to top dog slot among ITV franchisees. Since then Carlton has been seeking a substantial ‘break fee’ and last week filed a high court lawsuit claiming £30m.

The hearing was scheduled for Monday but an out-of-court deal was struck at the eleventh hour. A terse joint statement followed: “United Business Media and Carlton Communications have reached agreement regarding a settlement of Carlton's action against UBM following the sale of UBM’s ITV assets to Granada. The details of the settlement are confidential.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff