ITV to retain Carlton Screen Advertising after merger

LONDON - ITV will hang on to Carlton's Cinema advertising business, Carlton Screen Advertising, when its £4.6bn merger with Granada goes through, it emerged today.

Carlton Screen Advertising generated sales of £60.1m for Carlton last year, representing 6% of the company's turnover, through sales of advertising in cinemas in the UK, the US and continental Europe.

The merged ITV company will also retain its stake in French firm Thomson Multimedia. Its interest in Thomson includes 15.5m shares, which it received when it sold the French company its Technicolor film processing business in 2001.

Details of the merger, which was given the go-ahead by the Department of Trade and Industry last week, are being discussed by the ITV companies, the Office of Fair Trading and Ofcom in order to sort out issues arising from the deal.

The deal was approved with conditions attached to help prevent Granada and Carlton's sales houses, which are to be allowed to combine, acting anti-competitively.

The conditions include the implementation of a contracts rights renewal system to allow advertisers to negotiate new deals on the same terms as last time, for the next three years.

A search has also begun for an independent adjudicator to rule on conflict arising from disputes between the merged ITV and advertisers.

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