SelecTV deal imminent

MATHEW HORSMAN

Media Editor

Advisers to Pearson and SelecTV were yesterday locked in last-minute talks aimed at announcing their long-awaited deal by as early as tomorrow. Provided the final price can be agreed, Pearson is expected to bid about pounds 45m for SelectTV, maker of Birds of a Feather and Lovejoy, by way of a public offer for the company's shares.

The offer, which is likely to be unveiled before market opening tomorrow, will be accompanied by an announcement that SelecTV's cable channel is to be sold separately, for as much as pounds 5m. The probable buyer is Carlton, Michael Green's TV media company, which has been looking to launch a UK cable operation fed by its Carlton and Central programming libraries.

Talks with Granada about launching a joint cable-exclusive channel featuring both Carlton and Granada programming failed last year, according to informed sources. Granada has since made a deal with BSkyB, the satellite broadcaster, to launch as many as eight new channels. Included is a "Granada Gold" channel based in part on re-runs of Coronation Street.

A Carlton spokesman refused to confirm whether the company was involved in the negotiations over SelecTV. "It is not our policy to comment on market speculation," he said.

Pearson, which is interested only in SelecTV's independent production operations and its programming library, is also expected to sell SelecTV's 15 per cent stake in Meridian to MAI, which already owns 61 per cent of the ITV licence-holder. The price is believed to be as much as pounds 30m. An MAI spokesman declined to comment.

Talks between Pearson and SelecTV have been under way since November, and efforts to close a deal by Christmas foundered due to the length of time Pearson's advisers took to complete due diligence.

The acquisition is part of Pearson's strategy of expanding into independent television production. It owns Thames Television, one of the UK's largest producers, and last year paid pounds 175m for Grundy Worldwide, the maker of Neighbours, the popular soap. Subsequently, it agreed to buy the US-based TV distribution partnership ACI.

Pearson Television is expected to make further deals in 1996, under an aggressive expansion strategy developed by Greg Dyke, its chief executive and the former head of London Weekend Television.

Suggested Topics
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

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

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

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Developer - Watford - £45,000 - £47,000

£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Product Manager - (Financial Services) - SW London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Day In a Page

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
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us