ITV spikes Dyke bid

Broadcaster board rejects new offer

The Greg Dyke-led bid for ITV, Blighty’s biggest commercial broadcaster, has admitted defeat after a revised offer was rejected by the ITV board.

In a statement issued to the City, the consortium involving Apax Partners, Goldman Sachs and Blackstone, said that it had “decided not to proceed further with its proposal.”

The development ends 10 days of intense uncertainty and should leave the way clear for ITV’s new regime, put in place by CEO Charles Allen last fall, to prove it can deliver value to stockholders.

Allen — together with director of TV Simon Shaps, finance director John Cresswell and commercial director Ian McCulloch — has been on a City charm offensive, reassuring stockholders that his vision is the right one for the embattled broadcaster.

However, if ITV’s market price fails to improve on its present showing another bid could be on the cards.

One crucial test will be the performance of flagship web ITV1 this summer and whether any more economies can be extracted from the business.

The company rejected the revised offer Friday because it “was not … in the best interests of all shareholders,” according to a statement issued by ITV.

It added that it will “vigorously pursue its strategy for the company’s multi-platform, multi-channel digital future, which is demonstrably working and in which the board has the utmost confidence. In addition, the board has recently announced proposals to return an initial £300 million ($520 million) of capital to ITV’s shareholders and is continuing to evaluate the optimal capital structure of the company.”

ITV said the latest approach valued the broadcaster at $2.25 per share, a small premium on the Friday’s opening share price of $2.17.

ITV’s stock price was down about 4% on the previous day.