For ITV it's the final solution - one ITV, one company. It's become a when-not-if question. All that's left to do is to cross the legal t's and dot the regulatory
For ITV it's the final solution - one ITV, one company. It's become a when-not-if question. All that's left to do is to cross the legal t's and dot the regulatory i's and a quick arm wrestle between messrs Robinson, Hollick and Green to find out who will be the capo di capo. But if the destination of ITV has never been more certain, the route and timetable of how to get there has never been less clear.

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