Britain's ITV Rejects US Consortium Bid Offer

23 March 2006

ITV, the UK's largest commercial broadcaster, on Wednesday vetoed the takeover bid tabled by a consortium of US private equity firms.

WAMN's report yesterday named only two bidders - Apax Partners and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners - but it became evident later in the day that a third US partner, Blackstone Group, is also involved in the £1.5 billion ($2,62bn; €2.17bn) bid.

The proposal, which would allow ITV to remain a publicly traded company, breaks new ground in the takeover arena, with an innovative structure that could establish a future template for formal partnerships between public shareholders and private equity investors.

The consortium's proposal, opines the Financial Times, is intended to address concerns that private equity groups simply pick-off public companies on the cheap, robbing shareholders of future upside potential

A straw poll of ITV investors by the FT suggests they are far from averse to the consortium's concept. Tony Dalwood of SVG Capital, hailing it as a "compelling proposition".

Enthuses Dalwood: "They are saying that we can offer upside to the existing shareholders by employing a type of private equity model that uses leverage, and that also looks at changes to both management and strategy."

Meantime, it was confirmed that if the bid succeeds, ITV ceo Charles Allen will walk the platinum plank to be replaced by former BBC director-general Greg Dyke, currently an 'advisor' to Apax.

The consortium is said the be reviewing its position in the light of the proposal's rejection by the ITV board.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff