'Resign', Institutional Shareholders Tell Granada Chairman

08 May 2002

Heavyweight investors – among them Barclays Bank, the Capital Group and insurance giant Legal & General – are calling for the head of Granada Media chairman Charles Allen.

Allen, who may ruefully recall the halcyon days when an ITV franchise was “a licence to print money”, is now the target of shareholder fury over the failure of Granada's joint venture with Carlton Communications, ITV Digital, which could cost the duo in the region of £1 billion ($1.46bn; €1.62bn). There is also the prospect of a £500m lawsuit from the Football League on whose broadcast rights agreement ITVd reneged.

Allen's standing with investors might – just might – have survived this debacle had he subsequently kept quiet. But his chances sank below sea-level when, within days of ITVd's failure, he spoke to the media about the resuscitation of merger talks between Granada and Carlton – a move seen by shareholders as a diversionary manoeuvre. Nor were Carlton’s senior managers best pleased by Allen’s chats with the press before discussing the matter with them.

If and when a merger takes place, the denizens of London’s media world are laying odds against there being a niche for Allen.

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