LWT tells Granada that its pounds 650m bid has 'no chance'

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The Independent Online
GRANADA must consider raising its pounds 650m takeover offer for the London Weekend Television group this week following unproductive talks between the two sides on Saturday.

Sir Christopher Bland, chairman of LWT (Holdings), was unwilling to consider Granada's approaches before yesterday's publication of its final defence document, the last financial information which it is allowed to issue before the close of the bid.

Sir Christopher said Granada's existing bid has 'no chance of success'. It has until next Sunday to improve its offer.

LWT said it had made a strong start to the year with January advertising revenue up 10 per cent to pounds 14.8m, its share of viewing in London up to 40 per cent, and GMTV, the year-old breakfast television company, on target to return to profit this year.

LWT told shareholders it expects advertising revenue to be at least pounds 1.5m ahead of budget by the end of the first quarter. This would translate into an additional pounds 1.2m of profit.

A spokesman for Granada dismissed the LWT circular as 'a flimsy document. It says nothing, it changes nothing.

'Everybody had a good January, so did we. It's hardly surprising that they were up.'

Sir Christopher said the latest information 'reinforces our excellent figures for 1993. We have always believed that our defence must rest not just on the past. We have said we have got a good future and here's some evidence that says we are right.'

He added: 'We've reinforced the case for LWT as a big, independent ITV company.'

Asked whether Granada expected to win control of LWT with the existing bid, the company's spokesman would only say: 'It's a good offer. It's a question of what the shareholders think.'

Some analysts believe that Granada is prepared to raise its offer to 750p a share (from about 700p) to secure LWT's recommendation.

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