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27/02/2002

Carlton and Granada merger talks end without agreement

Merger negotiations between UK media giants Carlton and Granada have ended without agreement.
In a statement issued on February 27, Carlton said: "Carlton and Granada have been in discussions regarding a possible combination of their businesses, in step with proposed legislative changes. The two boards have decided not to pursue these discussions."
The discussions have followed changes to UK media ownership rules, which, since November 2001, have permitted ITV companies to combine to control a greater audience share.
The rule changes were greeted with scepticism by smaller ITV companies, notably SMG and Ulster Television, who believed their independence was put at risk.
Carlton and Granada have also been in conflict with smaller ITV franchise holders over ITV Digital, which they own jointly. Many were opposed to the use of the ITV name and have sought compensation.
While the merger talks were in progress Carlton shares lifted 13.6 percent higher to 228p on February 26.
In early trading on Wednesday, the shares slipped back 7 percent to 212p.
Granada shares fell two percent to 111p in early trading.
Both companies have been hit by drops in advertising revenue over the last year.
Carlton, www.carltonplc.co.uk
Granada, www.granadamedia.com
(GB)
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