Granada Media secured at least $2bn (£1.3bn) from its float today (July 11) as it shapes up for a possible three-way fight for control of the UK's commercial TV broadcasters.
The media division, which is being spun off from its parent Granada Group, fixed the price of its offer at 515 pence per share. The move valued the company at $11.4bn (£7.5bn).
Shares surged to 555 pence as trading started on the London Stock Exchange. The company sold an 18% stake to institutional investors.
Granada is now expected to mount a rival bid for either Carlton Communications or United News & Media. The two rival commercial broadcasters in the ITV network unveiled a proposed merger last year that would leave Granada isolated.
To fund its potential bid, Granada is expected to raise $2.3bn (£1.5bn) in cash from the float if an over-allotment option is exercised, bringing to the total sold to institutions to 20%. Granada will have around $3bn (£2bn) in cash with the proceeds from the share issue and the merger of its TV rental arm with Thorn.
But Granada may decide not to launch a hostile bid if it can negotiate a carve-up of the ITV network with Carlton and United instead. Trade Secretary Stephen Byers is expected to grant conditional clearance for the three ITV companies to reduce to two this week or next.