ITV offloads 50pc stake in Screenvision

Steve Dinneen
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ITV has offloaded its 50 per cent stake in cinema advertiser Screenvision to US private equity fund Shamrock Capital for $80m (£50m).

ITV chief executive Adam Crozier called the deal an “important step” for the firm as it works to consolidate its broadcasting empire.

He said the deal fits into ITV’s “transformation plan to focus the business on its core objectives of UK multi-platform broadcasting and global content”.

The move is part of a wider sale of non-core assets, including disposal of its 25 per cent stake in Friends Reunited to DC Thompson subsidiary Brightsolid for £25m and its stake in Liverpool Football Club for £15.75m.

The money generated by the Screenvision sale, which is still subject to US anti-trust clearance, will be used to pay down the broadcaster’s net debt. The firm has already paid down £175m of its debt pile in the last six months.

ITV reported a £97m first half profit after limping to a £105m loss in the first half of 2009.

● August 2009
ITV sells its stake in Friends Reunited, for which it paid £150m, for just £25m.

● November 2009
The broadcaster hires former Asda chief executive and Conservative MP Archie Norman as its new chairman. The appointment of high-profile business figure Norman brings an end to a two-month search for a successor to Michael Grade.

● January 2010
It is announced Crozier will leave the Royal Mail later in 2010 to become the next permanent chief executive of ITV.

● April 2010
Adam Crozier takes the reins at struggling ITV, which is still reeling from the worst advertising drought in decades.

● August 2010
ITV reports encouraging figures after making a loss in the first half of 2009. Crozier says the beleaguered broadcaster – which saw its share price fall almost 85 per cent during the advertising drought between June 2007 and April 2009 – can bounce back under his leadership.

● September 2010
Crozier offloads Screenvision to a US private equity vehicle for $80m as he focuses on ITV’s core broadcasting operations.