ITV makes stock market debut

Shares in ITV plc made their debut on the stock market today, following the merger of Granada and Carlton to create Britain’s largest commercial broadcaster.

Shares in ITV plc made their debut on the stock market today, following the merger of Granada and Carlton to create Britain’s largest commercial broadcaster.

Granada Media plc owns a 45% stake in TV3.

Chief executive Charles Allen said ITV was “well placed” for growth and was now performing at its best level for 10 years and well on the way to deliver the £100m (€146.4m) benefit promised from the merger.

Despite the debacle of Granada and Carlton’s joint foray into the digital market with ITV Digital, Mr Allen said the company would develop a package of new outlets for the multi-channel future, including ITV3.

He played down speculation that former BBC director general Greg Dyke could be a candidate for the vacant post of chairman of ITV.

“The process for selecting a chairman is very well advanced,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“Sir George Russell and Sir Brian Pitman, our two most senior non-executive directors, are conducting that process.

“That may be an opportunity for Greg. However, I think they are looking for a senior business figure who has performed and developed a relationship as an experienced chairman in the City.”

He said the Granada-Carlton merger had gone well, despite the shareholder revolt which ousted his joint chief executive Michael Green.

“We are already well on the way to deliver the £100m (€146.4m) benefit that we promised,” said Mr Allen.

“We have got a management team in place and we are very focused on continuing to deliver on-screen for our viewers.

“We are actually performing better than we have done for 10 years and the merger really does give us the opportunity to deliver for viewers, advertisers and shareholders.”

ITV channels were doing well in digital households, particularly those using the BBC’s Freeview platform – the replacement for ITV Digital – he said.

“ITV1 is the most watched channel on Freeview and ITV2 is the most watched digital channel,” said Mr Allen.

“What we will do is create ITV3 and ITV News and a package of channels, so I think we will be very well placed for the digital future.

“Today is an opportunity to look forward and I think ITV is well placed.

“Our strategy is to lead and grow the UK television market, to really become an organisation that is focused on one common set of objectives and that is about delivering for the advertisers and delivering for our viewers.

“We have an ITV channel strategy which will work in the multi-channel world.”

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