ITV Stock Plummets to Alltime Nadir

12 November 2007

LONDON: The share price of Britain's largest commercial broadcaster ITV continued its southbound journey on Friday, submerging below £0.90 for the first time since the firm's birth by merger in 2004.

The stock finally closed at £0.891, having recovered slightly from its date-low of £0.881.

ITV's market fragility has less to do with its performance than the moneymen's jitters - fearful that the Competition Commission will force News Corporation's satellite monopoly BSkyB to dispose of its 17.9% stake in ITV on antitrust grounds.

If this happens a large block of shares will suddenly be dumped on an already twitch-ridden market, further depressing the stock's value.

To worsen the situation, ITV stock went 'ex-dividend' last week, a move that is significant only in that buyers of the company's stock no longer instantly qualify for dividend payouts.

Whatever the Competition's Commission's final ruling, NewsCorp will be less than eager to sell its ITV holding. At its current price, a sale would result in a loss to Clan Murdoch of more than £300 million ($624m; €426m).

At the time of its formative merger, ITV shares debuted at £1.48.

Data sourced from GuardianUnlimited (UK); additional content by WARC staff