Mercury accepts Granada bid

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MERCURY Asset Management, LWT's biggest institutional shareholder with 14 per cent, has accepted Granada's cash and share offer for the London broadcaster, writes Gail Counsell.

The fund manager's support for the Granada offer was widely seen as vital to the success of its hostile bid, which closes today at 3pm.

It means that the northern conglomorate run by Gerry Robinson now has acceptances for 42.2 per cent of LWT.

A spokesman for Granada said the company was confident of victory. 'Arithmetically we could still fail to do it, but the chances must be extremely thin,' he said.

However, LWT refused to throw in the towel, insisting that it had not given up hope and had always believed that the result would be close.

MAM's verdict was seen as of particular importance as it also holds 16 per cent of Granada and in effect had to choose between the two managements.

The acceptances include Granada's own 17.5 per cent holding in LWT, part of which was purchased from MAM last year.