Granada Group purchased Mirror Group’s 18.6 per cent stake in
Scottish Media Group for pounds 110 million this week, adding a twist to
the Mirror Group takeover saga.
The acquisition is still subject to shareholder approval, which Mirror
Group is obliged to seek at its extraordinary general meeting on 30
March, following complaints from Trinity, one of the companies
attempting to buy Mirror Group.
It is believed that Trinity was vehemently opposed to the sale of SMG on
the grounds that Mirror Group’s reduced debt eases the way for an
increased offer from rival bidder, Regional Independent Media.
A spokesperson for Trinity claimed to be neutral about the news. ’If
they want to sell it, they are perfectly entitled to do so,’ she
Chris Oakley, chief executive of RIM, also said he had no objection to
the SMG sale. ’I don’t believe this has any affect on our plans. Mirror
Group has to get on with running its business the way it thinks best
while the Monopolies and Mergers Commission investigates (Trinity’s bid
),’ he commented.
Mirror Group regarded SMG, owner of the Herald newspapers, Scottish
Television and Grampian, as a non-core asset due to cross-media
ownership laws and is also understood to be looking to offload other
non-core assets including cable subsidiary, Live TV (Campaign, 5
Granada has offered 915p for each of Mirror Group’s 12 million ordinary
shares in SMG. Granada denied that it planned to make a full bid for SMG
unless another party makes such an offer or builds a stake of 15 per
cent or more in the company.
Charles Allen, Granada’s chief executive, said: ’We are delighted to
have this opportunity to make this investment in Scotland’s premier