The story so far. Last November United News & Media chief Lord Hollick launches an £8 billion merger bid for rival Carlton. Granada's Gerry Robinson responds by declaring his intention to launch a bid for either Carlton or United, although he's not sure which yet.
The proposed mergers trigger a regulatory nightmare - 'a hierarchy of illegality' according to media analyst Paul Richards. 'With Granada-Carlton you've got the two London licences and you break the 15 per cent audience and 25 per cent advertising limit; with Granada-United you break the advertising and audience limits but you don't have both London franchises; and with United-Carlton you get very close to the audience limit and you do go through the advertising limit.'
See Broadcast for the full story on 11 February