Carlton Communications: Bertelsmann Poised to Pounce After Media Liberalisation

30 October 2001

The expected liberalisation of rules governing ownership of TV and press media in Britain has set aflow the gastric juices of German media mammoth Bertelsmann, according to a report in Sunday’s Observer newspaper.

Titillating its teutonic taste buds is beleaguered ITV licensee Carlton Communications, whose ad revenues and share price have taken a hammering in past weeks. According to the Observer, informal discussions between the pair have been held recently, although these have ended without any statement.

Under current UK legislation, Bertelsmann cannot move on Carlton because it already holds an interest in the nation’s Channel 5 through its seventy per cent stake in European broadcaster RTL.

If a post-legislation offer eventually materialises, the City of London can look forward to a month of feast-days with the inevitable bidding auction a move by Bertelsmann would trigger. Industry insiders believe it inconceivable that Carlton’s ITV partner Granada Media and others would sit idly by while Carlton was swallowed by the German company.

News source: CampaignLive (UK)