Floundering British dTV operator ITV Digital has less than a week to secure a future for itself, otherwise it will go into liquidation.
The platform’s owners, Carlton Communications and Granada Media, have refused to put any more money into the venture. Administrator Deloitte & Touche has just £5 million ($7.2m; €8.2m) of the £20m it received from the media duo when it was called in late last month [WAMN: 28-Apr-02] – enough to see it through to the weekend.
In that time, D&T will try to renegotiate the rights deal with the Football League (the three English soccer divisions below the elite Premier League) that pushed ITVd into administration.
The platform owes the League £178.5m for the two final years of its rights contract but insists it cannot pay, while Granada and Carlton are adamant there are no parental guarantees obliging them to find the cash. Offers of £50m and £60m for the remainder of the contract have been rejected by the League, which argues the loss of cash will endanger the future of several football clubs.
The League is thought to have said privately that it will accept an offer of £74m, though it has publicly denied any such sentiment. ITVd has now made a new offer, believed to be for £74m, though reportedly with an extra year’s rights for free-to-air matches and highlights tacked on.
The League’s 72 club chairmen meet on Thursday to decide whether to accept a compromise along these lines. If the two sides cannot reach agreement by this time, ITV Digital’s assets will be put up for sale.
“The shareholders have confirmed that, while doubts remain over the ability to restructure the company, they will not fund a continuation of the administration,” D&T revealed.
“Consequently, whilst we have recommended that the process be continued for a further short period to establish finally whether the company can be preserved, we are also preparing the business for sale.”
Data sourced from: Financial Times; MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff