Britain's ITV in US Stock Buyback Offer

22 December 2004

ITV, the UK's largest commercial TV broadcaster, is finding the governance demands of America's Sabanes-Oxley Act rather too onerous for its liking.

The law, enacted by Congress in 2002 after a tsunami of corporate accounting fraud and corruption scandals, lays down stringent rules governing the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures.

ITV, in common with a number of other UK companies is unenthused at the cost and administrative burden of complying with the US regulations. And corporate malfeasance within the island nation is, of course, best dealt with behind closed doors by gentlemen of breeding.

The UK broadcaster has therefore issued an offer to buy back the shares to qualifying US-domiciled stockholders registered as at December 20. This will pay a 15% premium on the dollar value of the current UK share price.

There are 683 US residents listed on the ITV stock register. But its offer is restricted to those whose ordinary shareholdings remain below a 175,000 shares threshold. ITV did not spell out how many shareholders qualify for the offer.

ITV shares closed Tuesday night, marginally down at £1.055 ($2.032; €1.52).

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff