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ITV close to MediaCity move

Indy claims long-running negotiations are almost over

Published on October 25th 2010.

ITV close to MediaCity move

ITV is ‘weeks away’ from sealing a move to Peel Group’s MediaCity, according to weekend newspaper reports.

New ITV chief executive Adam Crozier is understood to be keen on pushing the deal through, which will see the production of programmes like Coronation Street move to Salford Quays.

A new purpose-built studio will be built for Granada, but some of Granada’s back office functions could stay at Granada’s Manchester base on Quay Street.

No sources are cited in the article, published in The Independent, although neither side has ever made a secret of the fact that talks have been ongoing for some time.

Despite reports in January that the move was off, both ITV and Peel claimed an offer was still on the table.

The Independent now claims talks have accelerated since the appointment of Crozier and new ITV chairman Archie Normand. The new management team wants to help the broadcaster make savings, bring in new talent, and shave down its £500m debt pile.

Peel is advised by property services firms WHR and Cushman & Wakefield.

Insiders have always claimed that one potential stumbling block to the move is the political problems it could cause to the redevelopment of its Quay Street site. An aggrieved Manchester City Council may be unwilling to give planning permission to the broadcaster if it moves to its neighbouring borough, and a scheme that was originally set to be built in Manchester before Peel and Salford City Council stepped in.

The site could also be sold when the market eventually improves, however. No deal has been formally agreed but it is thought an announcement is just weeks away. ITV is still continuing to explore all options while this process is ongoing.

A spokesman for ITV said: "We are examining a number of options regarding ITV's Manchester base to ensure that we have a fit-for-purpose production complex in the North-west."

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