Copyright 2004

[ October 23rd 2004 ]

ITV is to sell the Moving Picture Company, a provider of special effects for films such as Troy and the Harry Potter series, to Thomson, the French technology group, for more than 50m. The deal has been agreed in principle, but the two sides are still thought to be haggling over an exact price. ITV is in the process of selling non-core assets following its creation through the merger of Carlton and Granada earlier this year. Two months ago it sold its Carlton Books publishing unit for 3m, and last month it sold its 5.5 per cent stake in Thomson for 172m.

Thomson is understood to have beaten off competition from five rival bidders including Kodak, the film company, and Carlyle Group, the US-based private equity firm. The French company clinched the deal in part by offering to complete the transaction within three weeks. The Moving Picture Company creates high-end digital special effects and computer animation. Its work has featured in advertising campaigns for Nike and films such as Tomb Raider. ITV is also considering selling Carlton Screen Advertising, which sells advertising space, its stake in Australia's Seven Network, a broadcaster, and its 10 per cent shareholding in Liverpool Football Club.

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