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ITV Digital To Be Broken Up!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 26/04/2002

THE Minister for Culture, Tessa Jowell, is to make a statement about ITV Digital in the House of Commons this morning but administrators Deloitte & Touche say the company could be broken up and sold off within days.

It did not have enough funding to be able to a commit to a long-term sale process but is instead offering the business and assets of the company for sale with immediate effect. If a sale is not agreed within a short time the company could be forced into liquidation.

A spokesman for Granada said: "We were happy to provide further funding but were unable to agree terms." Meaning the football league would not give them any freebies or accept a lower offer.

".…Poor business decisions…."

Jamie Cowling, media researcher at the Institute for Public Policy Research, said "ITV Digital has collapsed arguably due to a number of poor business decisions, such as paying over the odds for second rate football and filling the platform with unconvincing fare such as the Carlton Food Network, not because digital television itself was bound to fail."

Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn says the Football League have "an excellent case" against Carlton and Granada if the ongoing TV deal row reaches the High Court.

"If you have a legal contract in place you should be expected to rely on it. We will look to Carlton and Granada, who we believe are underwriting this entire adventure. "This will end up in court and we'll get our chance. Our legal advice is we have an excellent case against Carlton and Granada as, effectively, guarantors of the whole ITV Digital."

"Solicitors will be the winners because it could drag on forever, but as far as we're concerned - any company is entitled to go out of business and go into liquidation, there's nothing you can do about it, if they haven't got any assets then generally you don't get paid."

"Our view here is that we have a legally enforceable contract and we have rights against Carlton and Granada and that has been our plan from day one."

"We'll now pursue Carlton and Granada through the courts to get the money we feel we're entitled to."

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