Michael Green, the mercurial chairman of Carlton Communications, saw his ambitions for a pan-European internet fraternity crumble after three potential partners – Germany’s Kirch Gruppe, Telecinco of Spain and Italy's Mediaset - baulked at making the necessary financial commitment.

Green, who earlier this year proclaimed his vision of a Grand @lliance of Carlton with the three European media groups along with TF1 of France, envisaged that the quintet would co-operate in the development of US internet business models, each investing Euro 50 million.

But all except TF1 were reluctant to commit to such a sum and Carlton now aims to concentrate on an existing joint venture with the French company and the pursuit of other online opportunities with its UK rivals.

Meantime, Carlton also announced the sale of its Technicolor video and film processing subsidiary to Thomson Multimedia of France. The sale realised $20.7 billion plus a 5.5% stake in Thomson and a seat on its board. The Carlton chairman will sit alongside representatives of other Thomson shareholders, including NEC of Japan, Microsoft, Alcatel and DirecTV.

Green’s gameplan is to wedge his foot in Thomson’s door while the French giant develops its European lead in interactive products and digital TV services.

News source: Financial Times