Granada cut amid fears about ITV advertising deals
LONDON - Shares in Granada fell this morning as the broadcaster was downgraded by a major investment bank amid fears about the future of key advertising deals, 70% of which are coming up for renewal.
Goldman Sachs cut the company's shares to "in line" from "outperform", which helped to push Granada's shares down 2.82% in early trading to 86p.
The bank said the downgrade comes after the company outperformed the FTSE by 16% last month and now appears "fully valued" in its view.
"Fair value is around 80p, but with negotiations for around 70% of ITV's advertising revenues coming due shortly, risk is mostly on the downside," according to Goldman Sachs.
The advertising landscape had started to look up for ITV earlier in the year with a £320m ad deal with FMCG giant Unilever.
However, Procter & Gamble, which spent £138m on advertising in the UK last year, is reported to have been threatened to cut out ITV from its advertising schedule amid advertiser fears that the merger between Carlton and Granada could push up the price of advertising on ITV.
Yesterday, the British advertisers body ISBA said it was committed to blocking the merger of the ITV sales houses, despite widespread industry belief that the sales houses will work closely together on price following the merger of Carlton and Granada.
Shares in Carlton also fell to 149.75%, a drop of 2.44%.
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