Granada wins bitter battle to own LWT: Chairman regrets loss of independence

GRANADA yesterday clinched victory in its pounds 765m battle for the London broadcaster LWT, creating a merged group that will be responsible for some of the UK's best known programmes, from Coronation Street to Blind Date.

The takeover was bitterly opposed by LWT's management, yet it will make multi-millionaires out of its top executives, who will realise more than pounds 76m as a result.

Sir Christopher Bland, LWT's chairman, and Greg Dyke, its chief executive, have LWT stakes worth about pounds 14m and pounds 9m respectively.

They are among 54 members of LWT's staff who ended up with around 10 per cent of the company as a result of the most generous share options scheme in UK corporate history, which was introduced in 1989 when the company faced the renewal of its franchise.

It is unclear how many LWT executives will choose or be invited to stay on. Gerry Robinson, Granada's chief executive, refused to be drawn beyond observing that Sir Christopher had acknowledged from the start that there would be no room for him if the bid was successful. However, it seems clear the group wants Mr Dyke, who is highly respected in the industry, to remain.

Other jobs also seem certain to be lost. Granada has consistently maintained that it could make savings as a result of rationalising the two companies.

Sir Christopher, who fought fiercely to keep LWT independent, congratulated Granada. LWT was obviously disappointed not to have retained its independence, but he was confident that the company's experienced staff would make a real contribution within the enlarged Granada Group, he said.

The merger is the third among ITV companies since the rules on ownership were relaxed by the Government at the end of last year.

MAI, Lord Hollick's media group, which controls Meridian, the southern broadcaster, has successfully bid for Anglia, the eastern broadcaster, while Michael Green's Carlton Communications, which owns the London weekday franchise, has acquired Midlands-based Central Television. Both were agreed offers, however.

The television regulator, the Independent Television Commission, has made it clear that where franchises merge, the combined group must continue to meet the separate obligations of each licence.

Marjorie Mowlam, Labour national heritage spokeswoman, warned yesterday that the party would keep a close eye on the industry. 'We will want to see quality of productions and the distinct regional character of independent TV survive in spite of the Government's persistent failure to take a long-term view of ITV takeovers.'

Granada launched its initial bid, then worth pounds 600m, at the end of last year. It raised its offer earlier this month to about 784p a share.

As a result of the bid, the proportion of Granada's revenues and profits generated from television will double to around a third. Granada will become responsible for almost 40 per cent of the ITV network's programme-making and about 10 per cent of UK production.

Granada and LWT will jointly take about 22 per cent of the independent network's expected pounds 1.4bn 1994 net advertising revenue. A shake-up of advertising airtime sales arrangements within ITV is now expected, following assurances given by Granada, MAI and Carlton during their bids.

Granada declared the bid unconditional after securing acceptances for just over 40 per cent of the shares, which together with the 17.5 per cent it already owns gave it control.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Analyst - Financial Modelling

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This really is a fantastic chance to joi...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Market Administrator (1st line Support, Bloomberg, Reuters)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Market Administrator (1st line Support, Bloomber...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game