United News & Media is focusing on its core market information business as it disposes of its TV interests, chief executive Lord Hollick has announced.
Hollick aims to eliminate the group's debt after an agreement last month to sell its ITV assets to rival Granada Media for £1.75bn. The move will give the company £500m in cash and £1.25bn in new Granada shares, which it will distribute to its own shareholders.
United is also expected to off-load its stake in Channel 5 to RTL, the company formed by Pearson and CLT-Ufa.
United's aborted merger with Carlton cost the company the bulk of a £30m exceptional charge. But United's first-half results showed a 21% increase in headline profits to £191.9m. Group turnover rose from £1bn to £1.15bn.
United is left with market information interests such as its CMP publications and trade show business, PR Newswire and new media division Xilerate. The group's newspaper titles include The Express and the Daily Star.