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ITV takes control of GMTV after it buys Disney stake

BELEAGUERED broadcaster ITV yesterday said it has taken full control of morning TV group GMTV, after buying the remaining 25 per cent of the company from Walt Disney for &pound;22.25m.<br /><br />ITV stumped up a one-off cash payment of &pound;18m for Disney&rsquo;s stake, topped up by a further &pound;4.25m representing the estimated value of the cash due to Disney following GMTV&rsquo;s results at the end of the financial year.<br /><br />ITV chief operating officer John Cresswell said: &ldquo;GMTV is the gateway to the ITV day and is a perfect fit with ITV&rsquo;s existing daytime programming. It represents an exciting opportunity to create a highly complementary daytime schedule offering great programming from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.&rdquo;&nbsp; <br /><br />ITV said the acquisition forms part of its strategy to focus on its core activities and to allow closer integration between ITV and the breakfast service.&nbsp; It is likely to cut costs as it integrates GMTV, which draws an audience of around 5m viewers every morning.&nbsp; <br /><br />Peter Fincham, ITV&rsquo;s director of television, told GMTV staff yesterday that an editorial review would begin next week. A spokesperson for ITV said it remains unclear what changes will be made to programming.