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22/08/2000

GRANADA MEDIA GROUP STRENGTHENS POSITION

Granada Media’s recent acquisition of United News and Media (UNM) has significantly strengthened the company's position in the UK broadcasting sector.
Granada Media bought the television assets of rival UNM for £1.75 billion, making it the largest media owner in the ITV network.
As part of the deal, Granada will buy UNM's Anglia and Meridian ITV franchises and HTV, which covers Wales and the West of England.
Following completion of the deal Anglia and Meridian will join Granada’s LWT, Tyne Tees, Yorkshire and Granada ITV franchises.
Many analysts view a consolidated ITV as being central to the acceleration of ITV’s current digital strategy by rapidly developing the ITV brand as a family of themed channels.
The enlarged Granada Media Group will have a leading position in UK free to air broadcasting.
Granada will now reach over 15 million homes and account for approximately £1 billion in advertising revenues within ITV, which is one of Europe’s most successful commercial broadcasters.
Granada Media has confirmed that it is no longer considering the possibility of making an offer for Carlton Communications PLC.
Charles Allen Chairman of Granada Media said: “This deal delivers on the strategy we outlined during our IPO on every front. It increases our national footprint, strengthens our offering to advertisers and allows us to play a leading role in ITV.
"We’ll have a wider range of programme genres to offer and an expanded international programme production and distribution business. It will drive the development of ITV and Ondigital and boost our broadband capability.”
Granada, with its vast array of credits, is acknowledged as one of the largest independent TV production companies in Europe. Its acquisition of UNM will increase Granada’s influence and heighten its position in the ratings war.
Granada added that United's established expertise in children's, animation and wildlife programmes would complement its own strengths in drama, soap and entertainment and factual genres.
UNM’s programme output, while modest in comparison to Granada’s, has built up an impressive portfolio of material over the past four years in adult drama, factual and children’s shows. These will compliment Granada’s programme output and allow them to move into these areas of programme output.
Formal completion of the acquisition is expected to take place by the end of December 2000 when Granada Media will assume full management control of the business if shareholders pass the requisite resolutions.
The company expected the combined business to generate cost savings of around £30 million in 2002.
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