United News cool on Scottish Media bid
Saturday 06 March 1999
Lord Hollick stressed that buying SMG was "not a priority" for United as the group attempts to achieve its newly adopted target of posting double- digit annual revenue growth over the next three years.
Analysts believe United is one of the obvious candidates to buy the 18.5 per cent stake in SMG which Mirror Group, the newspaper publisher, put up for sale on Thursday.
Carlton and Granada, the rival ITV companies, are also expected to consider buying the stake, as is CanWest, the Canadian media group. Carlton and United would then be in a position to use the stake as a launch pad for a full bid for SMG.
However, United is more keen to use its financial firepower to make acquisitions that will give it market leadership in fast-growing markets. The group recently bought Newsdesk, an Internet news service, and Audits & Surveys, a US market research company. United is currently the third-largest ITV company, but buying SMG would not change its ranking.
Lord Hollick said that the company, which has borrowings of pounds 600m, could comfortably afford to spend a further pounds 500m on acquisitions.
He was speaking as United reported a slight increase in underlying pre- tax profits of pounds 290m for the year to last December. Revenues jumped 10 per cent to pounds 2.0bn.
The results were adjusted for the demerger of Garban, United's moneybroking division, which it spun off last year, and the sale of its regional newspaper division.
Profit growth was held back by start-up losses incurred by United's investments in Channel 5, the LineOne internet service, and SDN, its digital broadcasting venture. Results were also affected by investment in the Express newspaper titles.
The figures came as little surprise, as United had already given the City an indication of its profits after mistakenly sending its earnings figures to analysts a few weeks ago. United shares closed up 22p at 653p.
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
iPhone 6 'hidden code' could indicate sharper screens or bigger phones
Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: 'These are completely fake' say singer's representatives
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Kate Upton nude pictures leak: Model's representatives 'looking into' authenticity of naked images
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...
£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...
£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer SQL, C#, VBA, Data Warehousi...