ITV Gains Control Of UK Breakfast Channel

11 May 2004

The consolidation of the UK's commercial television network ITV continues.

Regional broadcaster SMG has offloaded its 25% stake in breakfast broadcaster GMTV to ITV for £31 million ($55m; €46.5m).

The deal leaves ITV with a 75% stake in the breakfast TV franchise, currently valued at more than £121m, with the remaining stake owned by Disney.

The agreement, subject to regulatory approval, triggers an obligation whereby ITV must offer Disney the same price for its stake.

Charles Allen, chief executive of ITV said the result would: "simplify the ownership structure and enable more agile decision making, which will benefit both ITV and GMTV as we work even more closely together."

As part of the deal ITV assumes responsibility for the broadcaster's airtime sales on its two franchises, Scottish TV and Grampian TV.

ITV's digital channels, ITV2 and the ITV News Channel will be promoted on the Scottish broadcaster's franchises.

SMG will use the money to help reduce debts of £150m. The sale has triggered speculation that SMG may sell-off other assets.

In January it sold its holding in radio group SRH to media group EMAP for £90m. Last year it offloaded the Glasgow Herald newspaper group for £216m.

Data sourced from: Brand Republic; additional content by WARC staff