Hollick secures a stake in HTV as fight for franchises hots up

United News and Media, Labour peer Lord Hollick's conglomerate, will today announce that it is buying a 20 per cent stake in HTV, the ITV licence holder for Wales and the West, launching the long-awaited consolidation of Britain's commercial television sector.

The purchase of the stake, from Scottish Television., will be seen in the City as proof that Lord Hollick intends to mount a full bid for HTV, one of the leading takeover candidates among the ITV companies.

United already controls the Meridian and Anglia TV franchises. United News and Media may also be planning to sell its 14 per cent stake in Yorkshire- Tyne Tees, the northern-based ITV company, to Granada, which already controls 27 per cent of YTT. The corporate moves are expected to lead to a full take-over by Granada of YTT and by United of HTV.

The ITV sector has been poised for takeover action ever since the Government passed the Broadcasting Bill, which for the first time allows companies to control more than two ITV licences. Provided a single company does not control 15 per cent of the total television audience in the United Kingdom, it will be free from November 1 to own as many franchises as it wishes. United's move on HTV is likely to attract the interest of Carlton Communications, Michael Green's media company, which owns the London weekday and Central ITV franchises. Mr Green has long coveted HTV and is unlikely to watch his rival snap it up.

Full bids for YTT and HTV by their respective suitors will probably await a softening of the share prices of both target companies. Both have seen their shares rise sharply in anticipation of bid activity. HTV is worth well in excess of pounds 320m, while YTT could fetch as much as pounds 800m. Smaller ITV companies are also expected to be sold, as the consolidation takes grip. Ulster TV, Border Television, and even Westcountry, the ITV franchise holder in Devon and Cornwall, are all vulnerable. Indeed, Westcountry has itself solicited bids from potential buyers, of which Carlton is thought the most likely. United's pre-emptive move on HTV is thought to be linked to its concerns about its share of the ITV advertising market. Its sales house, TSMS, sells air time for HTV and Westcountry, and it is keen to ensure rivals do not steal market share.

The purchase of the HTV stake by United marks Lord Hollick's second big buy in the space of two weeks. Last week, his company offered nearly pounds 600m for Blenheim, the exhibitions company. Scottish Television is thought to be looking to reduce its debt by selling the HTV stake.

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
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 General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits