Carlton: The Jackals Begin to Circle

24 October 2003

According to The Times of London on Thursday, a handful of major investment banks are mulling how best to exploit the current situation at Carlton Communications and its frayed relationship with intended merger partner Granada.

Among those prowling the bounds is Credit Suisse First Boston, known for its close association with fraud-riddled Enron and currently in the news as its former star investment banker and director Frank Quattrone awaits a New York criminal trial verdict for alleged witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

The jackals hope to capitalize on the tensions now rampant between Carlton and Granada after the latter reneged on its promised support for Carlton's Michael Green as chairman designate of the merged ITV plc. His candidature has now been withdrawn [WAMN: 23-Oct-03].

In the wake of a concerted attack on Green's appointment by US-owned Fidelity Investments and other investment banks, the latter are said to be conducting soundings among US investors to gauge their stomach for a hostile takeover of Carlton.

One interested party might be US media mammoth Viacom, owner of the CBS television network and Paramount Studios, whose chairman Sumner M Redstone enjoyed cosy chats at Downing Street last fall with UK prime minister Tony Blair [WAMN: 08-Nov-02].

While at the Royal Television Society's annual shindig last month Viacom president Mel Karmazin all but donned his table napkin when asked if he would be interested in acquiring ITV. As did fellow delegate Haim Saban, the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers entrepreneur [WAMN: 22-Sep-03].

Meantime, the web continues to be spun. While Credit Suisse reportedly sets the stage, Green's nemesis, Fidelity's Anthony Bolton is in casting mode with his suggestion of former Credit Suisse investment banker John Nelson as the new chairman-designate of ITV plc [WAMN: 21-Oct-03].

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff