Granada battle begins for Tyne Tees takeover

LONDON — Granada Group has launched its friendly takeover bid for Yorkshire Tyne Tees TV, but faces a battle to persuade some powerful Yorkshire shareholders to accept the £711 million ($1.18 billion) offer.

Granada has the advantage in that it is already Yorkshire’s largest shareholder, with a 27% stake. But some of Yorkshire’s biggest institutional investors have said they think the price is way too low and will hold out for a better deal.

The most fervent objector is Mercury Asset Management, which owns 4.9% of Yorkshire but is also an important shareholder in Granada and has previously been a strong backer of its expansionist moves.

Much now depends on the attitude of the rival ITV group United News & Media, which owns 14% of Yorkshire but has yet to declare whether it plans to accept Granada’s buyout offer.

If Granada’s bid succeeds, it will control four regional ITV stations, adding Yorkshire and Tyne Tees in northeast England to its existing empire, which includes Granada TV in the northwest and London weekend broadcaster LWT.

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