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Private equity firm eyes ITV

Stock price rises as takeover speculation mounts

LONDON — A private equity player could be considering a bid for ITV, the U.K. terrestrial web that has seen a turnaround in its fortunes during the past 18 months.

The Financial Times reported Thursday that speculation in the City of London focused on rumors of takeover interest in the broadcaster.

ITV’s stock price has shown the biggest gain of any top U.K. company during the past six weeks.

Wednesday the price rose by 6.6% to 72p ($1.15) as speculation concerning a possible bid emerged.

However, with an uncertain advertising outlook and ITV having recently largely completed an extensive cost-cutting program, analysts wondered how a private equity bidder could find value in the web.

Thursday ITV’s stock price fell back. At lunchtime the shares were trading at 70.7p ($1.13), down 1.74%.

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