ITV is reportedly considering selling digital television business, SDN, up for sale as it weighs its options to raise extra funds. The broadcaster’s executive chairman, Michael Grade, is finalising plans to raise cash as the group faces a slump in advertising revenues and further pressure from servicing its debt and pension fund. Grade has just over a week before he presents what is expected to be a radical rescue plan to the City as part of ITV’s annual results on 4th March.
Selling SDN – which operates the Freeview multiplex that hosts Channel Five’s channels, as well as the shopping channel QVC – could raise about £200 million (E226m). Although the business is profitable and brought in revenues of £36 million in 2007, up 44 per cent on 2006, it is not seen as central to ITV’s core identity as a producer-broadcaster.