City File: Fiery meeting

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The Independent Online
TOMORROW's meeting between Peter Brooke, the Heritage Secretary, and the chairmen of the 15 ITV companies promises to be fiery.

It was called to try to reach a consensus on the feared takeover of the smaller ITV companies by their larger brothers. Reach a consensus? Mr Brooke will be lucky if he can stop the chairmen coming to blows over whether to lift restrictions on larger companies merging with others.

Louis Sterling, chairman of HTV, was telling anyone who would listen this weekend that there would be a political storm if the regional station for Wales lost its independence.

Yet Mr Brooke is under pressure to lift the restrictions. Indeed, with newspaper groups demanding to be allowed to raise their stakes in ITV companies beyond 20 per cent, many believe he will not resist the pressure.