Scottish Media buys Grampian for pounds 105m

Scottish Media Group yesterday announced a pounds 105m deal to buy Grampian Television, heightening expectations that the few remaining independent Channel 3 companies, such as HTV, would be taken over before the end of the year.

Scottish, which offered Grampian shareholders cash or new Scottish Media shares, will make substantial cost savings. City analysts suggested that up to 50 jobs may go from Grampian's workforce of 200.

Scottish would not confirm the number of redundancies and said the formation of a Scottish Parliament would create job opportunities as the company would set up studios in Edinburgh.

Calum MacLeod, non-executive chairman of Grampian, and Donald Waters, chief executive of Grampian, will join the Scottish board. Mr Waters will continue in his current capacity until his retirement at the end of the year. It is thought he will not be replaced.

Scottish is to transfer all its programme production to Grampian's Aberdeen studios, a move which will cut overheads by reducing the group's dependence on freelance and external facilities.

Andrew Flanagan, managing director, said the deal would provide advertising synergies between the two companies. He said: "We needed to get together to compete for advertisers on a pan-Scotland basis."

Of the five independently owned Channel 3 broadcasters, Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television is likely to be swallowed up by Granada Group after the two confirmed on Monday they were in talks about a merger. A deal is expected in a few weeks.

HTV's share price leapt 10p to 316.5p yesterday on City expectations that United News & Media would launch a bid by the end of the year. According to Henderson Crosthwaite, United, which already has a 29 per cent stake in HTV, would pay around 420p a share for the company.

Lord Hollick's company is forbidden from paying less than that until October, a year after it upped its stake in HTV at a cost of 420p a share.

United may act swiftly to prevent other predators taking an interest. Although Carlton Communications would have difficulty taking control of HTV while United continues to hold a stake, it has established an ideal platform for a takeover of HTV with its purchase last year of Westcountry Television.

While analysts said United could not afford to tread water for too long, they believed it may wait for the Independent Television Commission's decision on licence renewal before swooping. HTV pays the Treasury a hefty annual fee of pounds 22m and is likely to be granted a reduction which would affect its market value.

Analysts said a purchase of HTV would leave Border Television as easy prey for either Scottish or Granada, although Mr Flanagan said yesterday Scottish would prefer to expand by acquiring regional newspapers.

He said that while Border was "not a perfect bedfellow" and that all ITV companies were "healthily priced", there were significant opportunities in other media markets, and beyond Scotland.

Derek Terrington, media analyst at Teather & Greenwood, said Scottish was playing down talks of expansion within the terrestrial television sector. "Scottish wants to complete the set by buying Border," he said.

The Labour MP for Aberdeen Central, Frank Doran, yesterday urged Margaret Beckett, the President of the Board of Trade, to refer the Scottish deal to the Monopolies & Mergers Commission.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project