The UK's ITV television network faces further consolidation following news that UK radio broadcaster Capital Radio will sell Border Group's television assets to Granada Group if its proposed takeover of the company is successful.
Granada has agreed to pay $80.2m (£50.5m) for Border's TV assets. Capital will retain Border's radio stations. Although it has one of the smallest ITV television franchises, Border owns four major radio stations in the UK.
Capital said in a statement that the deal includes an exclusivity clause, which prevents Granada from negotiating the purchase of Border's TV assets from any other company for a six-month period, regardless of whether Capital completes the acquisition.
Capital Radio CEO David Mansfield said: "This agreement further strengthens our bid for Border. It protects the long term future of Border's television business with a group which is committed to the development of television assets and enables Capital to be totally focussed on what we do best - building successful radio businesses."
Granada's rivals in the ITV network, Carlton Communications and United News & Media, announced their intention to merge last year, although the move looks less likely since UK TV watchdog the Independent Television Commission ruled that it breached current broadcasting policy. Granada was also expected to attempt a takeover of one or both companies, although such a counterbid looks unlikely to succeed under current legislation.