ITV loses £105m amid ‘worst’ advertising slump

ITV has reported a half-year pre-tax loss of £105million and has sold its Friends Reunited web business for a knockdown £25million.

As well, ITV has yet to make any announcement about a replacement for its outgoing chief executive Michael Grade.

BBC Online reports that Friends Reunited has been sold to Brightsolid Limited, which is owned by DC Thomson, Dundee-based publisher of comics such as the Beano. ITV bought the business four years ago for £120million.

The announcement of the pre-tax loss came with the release of half-year results, which were hit by the worst decline in UK television advertising on record.

The £105m loss compares with a £1.5bn loss in the same period of 2008, although last year’s figure was hit by a £1.6bn charge reducing the value of investments made in 2000 and 2004.

ITV’s advertising revenues fell by 15 per cent, which was slightly better than the 17 per cent fall in the overall market.

ITV is in the middle of a cost-cutting programme, which aims to deliver savings of £155m this year and £285m a year by 2011.

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