Desmond delays float of adult TV company

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Richard Desmond, the owner of the Daily Express, has pulled the 200m flotation of his adult TV production business Portland Television as a result of market volatility, postponing his first foray into the public markets.

A number of companies have scrapped plans to list shares due to investor caution on the back of the credit crunch and the subsequent market uncertainty including Sophos, the IT security software developer. The flotation of Portland Television was expected to raise about 220m.

Northern & Shell Group, Mr Desmond's holding company, started preparing for the flotation of Portland TV this year, but has shelved plans until the second half of next year at the earliest. The broadcast division of Mr Desmond's company was set to be listed on the AIM market, which would have been the first time the media mogul had dipped his toe in the public markets.

Portland Television operates 25 channels, mostly in the adult sector with stations including the late-night subscription channels Television X, the Fantasy Channel and Red Hot. It also has an e-sports channel called and also produces video clips and advertising content. The company appointed the Scottish banker Sir Angus Grossart as chairman this year, before the intended listing.

Mr Desmond, who also owns the Daily Star and OK!, has flirted with a listing of his various businesses since he took over the Express group in 2001.