View from City Road: LWT hangs on to a slim chance

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The Independent Online
Another day, another flurry of futile hostilities between Granada and LWT. The bitterness with which LWT's board is going to its fate compares badly with the pragmatic attitude adopted by the management of its rival stations, Central and Anglia.

The latter rightly recognised that once the Government had cleared the way for two large stations to pass into joint ownership, no amount of railing against the injustice of it all would make any difference. They merely got on with negotiating the best terms possible.

The relatively juicier offers made for the two groups - especially Anglia - speak volumes for the merits, at least for shareholders, of this view.

LWT, however, seems to think that all can go on as before if only that nasty Gerry Robinson and his group will go away. The likelihood is that they won't and that the bid will succeed.

Even if it does not, however, the chances of LWT's continued independence look slim. In any case, given the speculatively inflated nature of ITV share prices, such an outcome would hardly be popular with shareholders.

Granada may yet sweeten its offer for LWT. But it would undoubtedly be prepared to go further than the modest improvement it now appears to have in mind if it thought this would secure the co- operation of Sir Christopher Bland, Greg Dyke et al.

LWT's management may indeed own 10 per cent of the shares. But it is not operating in the best interests of shareholders.

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