No. 27: Carlton


Revenue: $3.002 billion

Loss: $375 million

Carlton Communications has seen its stock price sink by more than half in the past year, with the ITV network’s ad revenues slumping sharply and the costs of ITV Digital (formerly ONdigital) mounting at an alarming rate.

Carlton is one of ITV’s two main broadcasters along with Granada, and the two companies co-own the ITV Digital terrestrial pay TV platform.

Last summer, Granada beat Carlton in the race to buy three ITV stations from United News & Media. Carlton had to make do with a consolation prize of acquiring one of those stations, HTV, from Granada.

But Carlton’s biggest deal of the past 12 months was the sale of Technicolor, its film-processing and video duplication subsid, to French electronics giant Thomson Multimedia for $2 billion, including $750 million in cash up front.

That deal left Carlton as a smaller and more tightly focused broadcasting, production and post-production group. New chief exec Gerry Murphy, who is gaining a higher profile as founding chairman Michael Green steps into the background, has said the Technicolor cash may be used for strategic acquisitions, but there’s no sign of any moves yet.

On the production front, Carlton has made advances into America through joint ventures with PBS and Newsweek. But back home in Blighty, Carlton was responsible for ITV’s biggest flop, the U.K. version of “Survivor,” which cost $14 million and had viewers reaching for the off switch.

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