Anthony Fry, UK head of US-headquartered investment bank Lehman Brothers, is actively bending ears around the Edinburgh International Television Festival, insisting that no redblooded American TV entrepreneur will bid for Britain's largest commercial broadcaster, ITV, because "the numbers just don't add up".

Fry is referring, of course, to the persistent rumour that Time Warner is mulling a £6.6 billion ($11.92bn; €9.67bn) bid for ITV along with private equity firm Apax Partners and former BBC director general Greg Dyke [WAMN: 04-Jul-05].

Fry's apparent eagerness to badmouth prospects for a successful ITV takeover bid are causing arched eyebrows in the Scottish capital.

"There is lots of talk about why someone does not bid for ITV but you cannot get the numbers to work. I don't think there is any interest from the US in coming in and buying ITV," he insists.

Some observers wonder if Fry's attempts to talk down the prospects of a bid may have something to do with the inflationary effect of the ongoing rumours on ITV's share price?

Were the cost of the conquest to fall, its attraction would increase.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff