Speculation Over ITV Bid as Former BBC Boss Joins Apax

14 October 2004

Greg Dyke, the former director general of the BBC, has joined UK private equity group Apax Partners as a 'media team advisor' with a brief to examine possible acquisitions in the sector.

His appointment has fuelled much speculation. Around the parish pump where media gossip melds with financial scuttlebutt, the juxtaposition of the words 'Dyke' and 'possible acquisitions' point inevitably towards ITV – the UK's largest commercial broadcaster.

Dyke, a multi-multimillionaire, joined the BBC after many years with London Weekend Television, where he and his co-directors were enriched by a hostile takeover by Granada Television – now the dominant partner in the merged ITV.

Although Dyke is unlikely to be distracted from his main objective by thoughts of revenge, it would make a particularly piquant garnish to the serving of ITV on a platter to the likes of Viacom or Disney.

Another possible target for Dyke's attention is BBC Worldwide, the BBC's commercial arm, currently thought to be up for sale with a price tag of circa £2 billion ($3.58bn; €2.91bn).

Apax itself bid tentatively for ITV last year, prior to the merger between Granada and Carlton Television but was unable (or unwilling) to better the terms agreed by the two main protagonists.

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