City analysts tell me the reason why ITV’s stock price is creeping up again is because BSkyB could be selling its share of ITV. “It would look better from a regulatory point of view,” says Paul Richards of Numis, referring to UK competition regulator Ofcom investigating News Corp’s bid to own Sky outright. (ITV was noticeably absent from the list of signatories including the BBC and Channel 4 who wrote to UK business secretary Vince Cable last month warning him about the deal. Media analyst Claire Enders tells me: “ITV has a lot to gain by cuddling up to BSkyB.”) RTL, Europe’s largest TV company, has been mentioned as one possible buyer of Sky’s ITV stake. NBC is another name in the mix since ITV’s news arm ITN already tailors news stories for the U.S. broadcaster. And Simon Cowell has said he’s been asked by various people in the States whether he’d be interested in putting together a joint bid for ITV. ITV itself is doing well, with its projected December ad revenue figures outperforming last year’s which bodes well for prospects in 2011.
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