Pearl & Dean put up for sale by SMG

LONDON — Clear Channel and Blighty terrestrial broadcaster ITV are among some 40 firms understood to be bidding for Pearl & Dean, the U.K. cinema ad biz put up for sale by SMG, which owns two Scottish TV licenses.

Pearl & Dean is reportedly valued at up to $108 million.

ITV owns Carlton Screen Advertising, which controls 75% of the U.K. cinema advertising market. Pearl & Dean has the remaining 25%, so a successful ITV bid would likely be referred to competition regulators.

An ITV spokeswoman declined to comment.

In other ITV news, regulators have refused the web’s request to cut tyke fare from the afternoon schedule of flagship web ITV1.

The network wants to air ratings-friendly entertainment to compete with commercial rivals, especially pubcaster hybrid Channel 4, which has no obligation to air kid fare.

But communications regulator Ofcom refused to allow ITV to shift kids’ shows to its children’s web CITV.

ITV recently trimmed tyke shows on ITV1 from 90 minutes a day to an hour.

Kidvid makers, already furious at ITV’s decision to close its children’s production arm, will welcome Ofcom’s decision.

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