Scottish may boost ownership in GMTV

Media co. raising stakes with $208 mil bid

LONDON — Scottish Media Group reportedly is mounting a £130 million ($208 million) bid to take over GMTV, the ITV network breakfast broadcaster.

Scottish, the parent of Scottish Television, confirmed Thursday that it is in talks to increase its stake in GMTV.

The group holds 20% of the company and is said to be picking up the 15% held by the Guardian newspaper group for $30 million. Scottish also may have signed off on the 25% owned by Walt Disney, but this deal would be conditional on an agreement on programming supply.

The remaining 40% of GMTV is split between the Granada Group and Carlton Communications, the two biggest ITV companies.

Competition for GMTV

It is possible that Granada or Carlton will challenge for GMTV, but both consider the price too high. Disney, it is reported, could still do an about-face and seek to increase its stake.

Granada is understood to be considering a takeover of Scottish, of which it owns 18.6%. But regulations limit individual ITV companies to no more than 25% of terrestrial advertising revenue. Should Granada take over GMTV, it likely would be unable to buy Scottish.

Scottish had been looking to sell its shares in GMTV, which lost money in all but one of the six years it has been on the air. GMTV, however, has had its license payments reduced by $48 million and is expected to turn a profit of about $16 million this year.