US Predators Sweeten ITV Offer

31 March 2006

As predicted [WAMN: 28-Mar-06], the three-strong US private equity consortium comprising Apax Partners, the Blackstone Group and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners has sweetened its offer for what effectively would be a controlling stake in ITV - Britain's largest commercial broadcaster.

On March 23 the ITV board rejected the trio's £1.3 billion ($2.27bn; €1.88bn) folding money proposition, ostensibly because it didn't offer a full cash exit to shareholders who might prefer not to retain stock alongside the consortium.

On Thursday, the trio responded by sweetening its offer to include a cash alternative of £0.40 a share on top of the £0.86 in cash it originally offered. The 40p cash alternative is equivalent to £1.6bn.

According to the Financial Times, the ITV board debated the new proposals late into Thursday night. Without the board's approval, the offer cannot be presented to ITV shareholders.

As at 08.27 GMT Friday morning, the board's decision is unknown.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff