The proposed merger between UK media conglomerates Carlton Communications and United News & Media got a thumbs up from the Independent Television Commission (ITC) today, when it said that it "would not operate against the public interest."

However, the UK TV watchdog also found no reason to object to rival media group Granada bidding for either Carlton or United. The announcement follows public consultations by the ITC on a range of potential cross media conflicts thrown up by the proposed mergers, including editorial distortion due the common ownership of newspaper and broadcasting interests.

Carlton and Granada announced their intention to merge last year. Granada has since said that it plans to bid for one or other of the two companies. Competition regulator the Competition Commission is currently looking at the implications of any such deal and is due to announce its decision in July. The ITC has notified it of its findings.