The broadcaster’s shares have risen for two days in a row following City speculation that the US network wants to buy ITV. Its shares have risen 10% to 55p. Dealers heard through the City grapevine that one UK broker has been buying up chunks of stock on behalf of an American client. There has even been gossip that NBC has agreed to buy BSkyB’s remaining 7.5% share-holding in ITV. And the ubiquitous Simon Cowell has been linked to this mystery US buyer. Cowell said he’s been asked by various people in the States as to whether he would be interested in putting together a joint bid for ITV. Of course it could all be silly season nonsense. But the five-year restructuring plan unveiled by ITV chairman Archie Norman, ex-CEO of Asda/Wal-Mart, and his CEO Adam Crozier has left analysts underwhelmed. The struggling broadcaster still looks cheap and vulnerable to a US bid. “It’s easy to get the spivs to get share prices going with August rumours because trading is so thin,” says this morning’s Times of London. “It would be no surprise if Mr Norman’s plan turns out to be fixing it up and selling it to the Americans – just as he did with Asda and Wal-Mart.”
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