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Granada eyes Telewest's stake in SMG

LONDON - Granada has renewed speculation that it will buy Telewest's 16.9% stake in the Scottish Media Group after the telecoms company said it could sell the asset at any time.

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According to reports, Granada has approached Telewest's financial advisers after the cash-strapped company won approval from shareholders to sell the stake, which is considered a non-core asset.

In Business AM, Telewest managing director Charles Burdick said the group is hesitant to sell its stake while media share prices are so low, but admits that the chance of a sale was "something north of 50%".

If Granada does buy Telewest's stake in SMG, which owns the Grampian and Scottish ITV licences, it will be forced, under stock market rules, to make a full takeover bid for the company. It already owns a 16.9% stake in SMG.

Carlton Communications had also been tipped as a potential buyer for SMG, but is not yet thought to have expressed an interest.

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