Allen 'to leave ITV'


ITV's chief executive, Charles Allen, is widely expected to step down when the commercial broadcaster releases its interim results next Wednesday.

The 49-year-old's departure, which according to media reports is now a dead certainty, follows his unsuccessful attempt to boost ITV's share price in the wake of a merger between Carlton and Granada two years ago.

Although at the time the merger was generally regarded as being a major success, falling ratings for ITV1 and a declining share price value since then have undermined Mr Allen's hold on the company.

His exit is expected to spark a renewed takeover bidding war for ITV, which now faces a cloudy future.

Whereas before Mr Allen's bullish resistance had prevented a takeover attempt by Greg Dyke three months ago from succeeding, observers expect new offers to be put on the table in the coming weeks.

Among those rumoured to be interested in approaches to ITV are Johnston Press and private equity firm Cinven.

ITV's share price rose 2.2 per cent today following speculation of potential bids after next week's crucial board meeting, in which the terms of Mr Allen's departure are expected to be finalised.

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