Scottish Media seeks GMTV stock

SCOTTISH MEDIA yesterday confirmed it has approached other shareholders over increasing its 20 per cent interest in GMTV, the ITV breakfast-time broadcaster. The other shareholders include Walt Disney, with 25 per cent, Carlton and Granada with 20 per cent each, and Guardian Media Group with 15 per cent. Industry sources say Guardian is a likely seller, but note that pre-emption rights among the shareholders could see Scottish in a drawn out bid battle.

Analysts interpreted the approaches as one way for Scottish to escape the clutches of Granada, which has acquired an 18.6 per cent stake in the company and is expected to launch an eventual buyout. It would be more difficult for Granada to acquire an enlarged group due to regulatory restrictions that limit advertising.