Compass merger contemplated, revenues up to $3.12 bil

LONDON — Granada Group reported pre-tax profits up 10% to £330 million ($495 million) for the six months through March 26, while confirming its intention to spin off its media division as a separately-listed company.

Granada, the leading ITV network player, hopes that shares in the new business, Granada Media, will soar as a media pure-play, facilitating a takeover bid for either of its two ITV rivals, Carlton or United News & Media, which are currently engaged in merger talks of their own.

Granada also confirmed plans to merge with catering group Compass; prior to the media division spinoff, the acquisition would create a $27 billion corporate giant.

First-semester results showed Granada’s overall revenues up 6% to $3.12 billion, with its media unit contributing $801 million.

Media operating profit grew 10% to $200 million on the back of sturdy ad revenue increases, greater programming sales to third-party networks and an increase in subscribers to feevee service ONdigital, in which Granada has a 50% stake.

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