Bottom Line: The news at SelecTV

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The Independent Online
CHEAPER than litigation it may be, but the resolution of the boardroom bust-up at SelecTV has still proved expensive for the lively independent television company best known for Lovejoy and Birds of a Feather.

Pre-tax profits, which nearly doubled to pounds 809,000 in the year to March, would have looked more impressive without pounds 295,000 of 'exceptional litigation costs' associated with the recent tussle between the former chairman, Michael Buckley, and the chief executive, Allan McKeown.

On top of which the group has agreed to pay Mr Buckley's Dawnglen Finance pounds 62,500 over a 30-month period for the provision of 'consultancy services'.

The good news is that this year's profits, albeit diminished by a pounds 94,000 write-off in respect of SelecTV's disentanglement from its controversial investment in Wilton, were sufficient to eliminate past losses. Hopes are therefore raised for resumed dividends.

SelecTV's share price, which yesterday slipped 0.5p to 24.5p, has been strong lately, partly buoyed by Associated Newspapers holding 12 per cent of the group and hoping to go to 15 per cent. But the group plays down the chances of a bid, because of the rules on cross-ownership - SelecTV owns 15 per cent of the franchisee Meridian and is bidding with Associated, Reuters, ITN and GWR for two London radio frequencies.

The shares are fully valued for the time being. Not yet a buy.