LONDON — Scottish Media Group, owner of the Scottish and Grampian ITV network franchises, has decided against selling its TV assets.
It was assumed that two big ITV companies, Granada and Carlton, would buy the franchises as part of the commercial network’s ongoing consolidation. Granada already owns 17% of SMG, so acquiring the additional shares would automatically have triggered a takeover under stock market rules, and go against current media ownership restrictions.
Instead, to ease SMG’s debt of £401 million ($629 million), the company is hanging a sale sign over its newspaper business, which includes the Herald, the Sunday Herald and the Glasgow-based Evening Times.
A number of publishing groups have already expressed interest, including the Guardian Media Group, Johnston Press, the Daily Mail & General Trust, Independent News & Media and Trinity Mirror.