Anger as Ball bounced from ITV

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ITV shareholders are furious over the way the TV company has handled talks with Tony Ball while the former BSkyB boss denies that talks about him becoming the broadcaster's new chief executive broke-down because of a row over pay.

A "bruised" Mr Ball, the chairman of Kabel Deutschland, said yesterday that ITV withdrew his candidacy after issuing an ultimatum over the new proposed chairman, Sir Crispin Davis, to replace the outgoing chairman, Michael Grade.

He said: "While I was ready to participate in a debate about the company's next chairman, the board decided it no longer wished to proceed and my candidacy was terminated?"

Sources close to Mr Ball said: "Tony would have been happy to talk to Davis about about the future and the composition of the board. But he was told he must accept him unconditionally. That didn't seem sensible."

Shareholders, who had backed Mr Ball, are furious with ITV for handling his appointment so "incompetently".

Mr Ball had offered to invest £2m in ITV shares. Under the incentive programe, he could have earnt £20m.