ITV to deliver Murdoch/Sky killer blow? The Murdochs and BSkyB have already taken a bath on the 17.9% of ITV they bought a couple of years ago: ITV shares have fallen, forcing write-downs and losses for Sky of hundreds of millions of pounds. UK competition regulators have ordered a sell down to 7.5%, which the Murdochs and Sky are challenging.
But could ITV be about to deliver a killer blow to Sky and Murdoch? ITV shares leap 28% on Friday to 28.25p on talk of a big issue to raise cash. The rise came on a day when the overall market fell sharply, down 2.3%. Reports in London papers ruled out takeover activity and said a fund raising move was more likely.
It’s suggested there has been active buying in the stock as well. A fund raising would dramatically dilute Sky’s holding, if it didn’t contribute its share. Seeing how it’s been told to sell, the share issue could reduce the Sky stake to 7.5% very easily. Some London brokers claim the issue news will come this week, along with senior management changes at ITV, perhaps the departure of Sir Michael Grade, who is seen as having failed to turn around the company in his time as executive chairman.
ITV has sacked thousands of workers and cut resources, production and broadcasting hours as a plan to save money to meet a sharp fall in ad spending this year and the one expected in 2010. Investment bank, UBS said last month ITV could raise up to 500 million pounds through a fund-raising. — Glenn Dyer
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Dramatic March falls in Australian employment advertising. Further worries for the classifieds: the Olivier Job Index fell a further 12.51% in March, bringing the three month loss in Australian job ads to 30.51%. There are now 92,708 (seasonally adjusted) fewer job ads on the net than at the start of the year. Over the last 12 months ads dropped from 382,659 to 211,138 (seasonally adjusted).
Don’t miss CNN’s blood and gore: Insensitive ad placement is nothing compared to the grab-link below, from a story about the shooting of three police officers in Pittsburgh:
Harper said the suspect fired from a bedroom window, shooting at an armored vehicle carrying a SWAT team — preventing those officers and medics from reaching the wounded policemen.
Two other officers, Timothy McManaway and Brian Jones, were injured. McManaway was shot in the hand and Jones, who was trying to secure the rear of the house, broke his leg trying…
Just another day in the USA — Kim Serca
Best use of quotation marks on any news site ever: “Don’t you think that I look like a midget’s turd?” Thankyou Fairfax.
Threat to shut Boston Globe shows no paper is safe. When it bought the Boston Globe for a record $1.1 billion in 1993, the New York Times Co. added one of the nation’s most acclaimed and profitable newspapers to its empire. But analysts say the 137-year-old Globe has been a money-loser in recent years, and the Times, now $1.1 billion in debt, is threatening to shut down Boston’s pre-eminent paper unless it gets $20 million in union concessions. — Huffington Post
Jewish Chronicle pays £30,000 libel damages to peace activist. A peace activist Friday accepted £30,000 libel damages and an apology at the high court over false claims made in the Jewish Chronicle that he had harboured two suicide bombers. Raphael Cohen instigated legal proceedings against the weekly newspaper after it published a letter in November 2008 alleging he had sheltered the bombers five days before they blew up a Tel Aviv bar. Cohen’s solicitor, Stephen Loughrey, told Justice Eady the letter suggested that his client was knowingly involved in the “atrocious crime” that occurred in April 2003, when three people were killed and 50 injured. — The Guardian
Mexico makes attacks on journalists’ freedom of speech a federal crime . Mexico’s Congress passed an amendment to the Federal Criminal Code to include crimes against the freedom of speech exercised by journalists, according to a report by Reforma in Diario La Estrella . The amendment passed with 263 votes in favor. Anyone convicted of “impeding, interfering with or limiting journalistic activity” will now face one to five years in prison. — New America Media
Boost Mobile has bus-stop paper shredders . US telecommunications company Boost Mobile has unveiled a neat little public-service offering: live paper shredders at bus stops in Chicago and Boston, where you can shred your existing phone-company contracts (or, presumably, anything that implicates you in a Ponzi scheme). Ad agency 180LA created the shredders, which are one of three new bus-stop executions for the brand. The other two seem a bit less useful — a big hose and an extra-large screw, to remind the public that they can get unhose’d and unscrew’d with Boost. — AdFreak
The takeaway: Arthur Sulzberger Jr. It’s been quite the week for Arthur Sulzberger Jr. Mark Bowden’s extremely long Vanity Fair profile painted a bull’s eye on the New York Times publisher, and it’s been target practice all week. But Young Arthur, AKA Pinch, plenty of defenders, too. Portfolio has a sampling of his clippings. — Portfolio