British TV Companies End Merger Talks

22 September 2006

BELFAST: In the wake of two successive approaches, failure to agree monetary terms has ended merger discussions between Ulster Television and SMG, owner of STV and Virgin Radio.

SMG gave a thumbs down to UTV's latest offer on Wednesday on grounds that it was underpriced, prompting UTV to withdraw all offers. However, the latter reserved the right to reconsider its position within the proscribed six-month period should SMG receive another bid approach.

According to a UTV statement: "In reaching its decision, the board of UTV has taken into account the interim results of SMG and the ongoing weakness in the advertising market franchise faced by the ITV network."

SMG ad revenues in the first half of this year fell by 7%, reflecting the slowdown in the UK advertising market.

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff