Granada Limited (previously called Granada plc, Granada Group plc and Granada Media plc) is a former British media and previously
cateringconglomerate, best known as the former parent of Granada TelevisionLimited. It is now known as ITV plcfollowing its merger with Carlton Communicationsplc.
At the time of the merger with Carlton Communications plc, Granada was mainly involved in the
televisionbusiness. It owned seven ITVcompanies – Granada Television, London Weekend Television, Yorkshire Television, Tyne Tees Television, Meridian Broadcasting, Anglia Televisionand Border Television. It also owned the ITV Digital Channels Ltdpay-TV business, which at the time offered two channels, Men and Motorsand Granada Plus, as well as 50% shares in ITV2and the ITV News Channel, and a 20% share of Independent Television News. It also owned 45% of TV3 Ireland. Charles Allenwas chief executive of Granada until 2 February2004, when he became chief executive of the newly-created ITV plc, a post he retained until 1 October2006.
Granada has its origins in
Sidney Bernstein's Granada Theatres Ltd., a cinema company founded in Doverin 1930. The company has been listed on the London Stock Exchangein one form or another since 1935. It was awarded the North of England ITVfranchise in 1954. For more details on the history of that part of Granada's business, see Granada Television. Granada also established a chain of television rental shops from 1959 onwards.
During the 1980s, Granada became involved in the
British Satellite Broadcasting satellite televisioncompany. This went on air in March 1990, but merged with Sky Televisionin November 1990, to form British Sky Broadcasting, in which Granada had a minority shareholding for some time. In 1991, Granada Theatres Ltd was sold to Bass. In 1994 Granada acquired London Weekend Television. In 1997 it acquired Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television plc, forming Granada Media Group plc. It also bid together with Carlton Communicationsplc and British Sky Broadcastingfor the UK Digital terrestrial televisionlicence. They won the licence, though BSkyB was excluded from the company, ONdigital for competition grounds. It went on air in 1998.
Aside from media, Granada's other main strength was in the
cateringbusiness. It opened its first motorway service area in 1965, and established a chain of service areas across the British motorwaynetwork. In the 1990s it expanded into other areas of catering, including most notably the acquisition of Forte Group.
Until the late 1990s there was a wide spread high street chain called "Granada Rentals" in the UK and in Canada. This was an electrical rentals chain similar to the likes of
Radio Rentalsand Rediffusion. However due to changes in the consumer trend from renting electrical goods to buying electrical goods this had resulted in the decline of this chain which became Box Cleverfollowing a merger with Radio Rentals in 2000. This successor company had since withdrawn from the high street and now only has an internet presence.
Merger and De-merger with
In 2000 Granada merged with
Compass Groupplc to form Granada Compass plc. At the same it spun off the Granada Media Group as Granada Media plc, retaining 80% of the shares initially. The merger did not last long, and in 2001 Compass and Granada once again went their separate ways, Compass taking all of Granada's food and hospitality business with it. The de-merged Granada was a pure media company.
Later events, and merger with Carlton
In 2000, Granada Media purchased United News & Media's television interests, though it was forced to sell the
HTVbroadcasting business (to Carlton) for competition reasons, though it held onto HTV's network production business. It also acquired Border Television, selling its radio interests to Capital Radio plc.
In 2002 ITV Digital, the renamed ONdigital, collapsed. Speculation now began to centre on when, not if, Carlton and Granada would merge. In 2003 a merger was agreed between the two companies, with Granada shareholders owning two-thirds of the new company. That the new company was in effect a takeover by Granada of Carlton was admitted in the first annual report of the new company,
ITV plc, which treated the company as effectively a continuation of Granada plc (with the Carlton merger regarded as an acquisition) for accounting purposes.
The Granada name remains as the name of the North-West ITV franchise, and is used to brand productions of ITV plc companies on channels other than ITV branded channels in the
United Kingdom, where ITV Productions is used instead. For details on the company's history after 2 February 2004, see ITV plc.
* [http://www.granadamedia.com Granada Productions]
* [http://www.ketupa.net/granada2.htm History of Granada Group]
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