Predators and prey in the hunt

Carlton: The ultimate aggressor. Rich and ambitious. Widely expected to buy Central TV, in which it has a 20 per cent stake. The cost - around pounds 800m - could be funded from borrowings.

Central: A jewel, most likely to adorn Carlton's crown. Bid just pounds 2,000 a year to retain its franchise. Is therefore extremely profitable and could be even more so, as it may not have pared costs to the bone.

Granada: As aggressive as Carlton. Has turned its attentions to LWT as its ambition to take over Yorkshire-Tyne Tees has been thwarted. Bought a 20 per cent stake at 500p a share. Would be unlikely to pay less than 600p a share for LWT and may find this too much.

LWT: Bought 14 per cent of Yorkshire-Tyne Tees. Has Granada as a 20 per cent shareholder and Mercury Asset Management with 15 per cent, which spells the end of independence. But any buyer should want to keep LWT's exceptional management.

Yorkshire-Tyne Tees: Up the proverbial creek. After combining two companies that overpaid for their franchises, it sold pounds 15m more advertising time than it had. Its fall-back - whereby LWT would buy Pearson's 14 per cent stake and launch a bid - is impossible under the new rules. A bleak future since it has ruled out splitting itself up to allow bidders in.

Meridian: Lord Hollick's MAI has 51 per cent. It must either acquire another franchise or sell out to allow a move into other media. Possible bidder for HTV, or even Central. No love lost between Lord Hollick and Michael Green of Carlton.

HTV: A mini version of YTTV. Short of money, ideas and hope. Peter Brooke said he would save the Welsh licence from bidders, but didn't. However, HTV looks dear after the fivefold rise in its share price this year.

Anglia: A juicy plum. Not only is it a nice licence in an affluent area, but it owns a small stake in the increasingly valuable BSkyB and a larger stake in Village Roadshow, the extremely profitable Australian group. Central would love it. MAI might also. Could be the first victim of a foreign bid.

Scottish: Gus MacDonald says he is a potential aggressor, but that may only mean he buys Grampian or Border. Despite its pounds 2,000-a-year bid to retain its franchise, Scottish is marginal because Channel 4 has hit it particularly hard. Could be consolation for a thwarted predator.

Westcountry: A private company with a small franchise. Nobody really wants it. Has Associated Newspapers as a 20 per cent shareholder, but it has bigger fish to fry.

Grampian: The only company that might buy Grampian is Scottish. A marginal company being pushed further to the fringes.

Ulster: Not even Scottish would bid. What is the future for this sort of group?

Border: The mystery is why the ITC bothered to save this licence. Granada, Scottish or YTTV might have swallowed it, but will not want to tie their hands now they are limited to one purchase.

Channel TV: Only of use to someone as a poison pill, blocking another bid while the limit is two franchises per company.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Financial Adviser

£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you recently QCA Level 4 qu...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Guru Careers: Application Support Analyst / 1st Line Support

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Application Support Analyst / 1st L...

Guru Careers: .NET Developer / Web Developer

£45K - £55K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a full stack .NET D...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence