Rumors of bid for ITV just that


LONDON -- Private equity sources played down reports of an imminent bid for ITV on Monday, despite a flurry in the broadcaster's share price in early trading.

Shares in ITV were up 4% to £0.79 in trading Monday on weekend newspaper speculation that a number of private equity houses -- including Apax, KKR and Providence Equity Partners -- were considering a £3 billion bid for the struggling commercial TV broadcaster.

However, a number of sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the reports were unfounded, citing the cost of financing and the prospect of further share price falls.

ITV shares are currently trading at close to an all-time low, and are expected to fall back even further when its biggest shareholder, BSkyB, sells down its 17.9% stake, as it has been ordered to by business and enterprise secretary John Hutton.