Sale of digital channel operating biz stopped
Struggling U.K. terrestrial web ITV will raise £120 million ($190 million) in a bond issue to help reduce debt.The web has decided not to sell digital channel operating business SDN, which it put on the market earlier this year. “ITV intends to use the proceeds of the offering to extend its average debt maturity, diversify the company’s funding and increase the efficiency of the balance sheet. The board restates that it has no current plans for a rights issue,” a statement said. ITV posted a net loss of $114.5 million in the first half. SDN’s revenue will be used to help plug ITV’s pension deficit. “Seeking to deploy SDN as asset backing to the pension scheme will help us manage our pension risk, while continuing to benefit from the strong cashflows that business delivers,” the broadcaster said. In a trading update, ITV warned that revenue from advertising was likely to dip by 3% in October, but that it was outperforming rival stations. Acting CEO John Creswell said, “While we are not yet seeing a recovery in U.K. television advertising, the trend is improving across the second half and into the fourth quarter.” There will be relief at ITV that the ad market appears to be stabilizing after last fall’s dramatic drop in revenues following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. On Monday, ITV announced that its search for a new chairman had stalled after candidates Crispin Davis, former head of Daily Variety’s owner Reed Elsevier, and former Channel 4 chairman Michael Bishop, both pulled out.