Allegations of insider trading at ITV’s controlling duo, Carlton Communications and Granada Media, are under investigation by UK regulator, the Financial Services Authority.
The three alleged insiders – two women and a man – traded via a pair of offshore investment vehicles. They are said to have bought substantial blocks of shares in both companies back in February when secret merger discussions between the duo were taking place. Within a few days of the share purchases – Carlton at below £2.00 and Granada at just over £1.00 – news of the mooted merger was leaked causing the inevitable leap in the stock values of both companies, respectively reaching £2.85 and £1.45.
On February 27, both broadcasters announced they had jettisoned plans their £5bn betrothal – but the market did not take this seriously and the shares continued to climb to their peak level before crashing with the bankruptcy of ITV Digital and the slump in adspend.
The Guardian newspaper, which broke the story Saturday, claims it knows the names of the suspect threesome, although they are not thought be employees of either company or their financial advisors. Carlton and Granada refused to comment on the matter over the weekend
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff