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Tony Ball Tries To Squeeze Itv For £30m Pay Deal

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TELEVISION SUPREMO Tony Ball is attempting to negotiate one of the biggest and most controversial pay packages awarded to a media chief executive.

Ball, who began his career as a Thames Television engineer, has been offered the job of chief executive of ITV, but he will only take it if the independent broadcaster agrees to a five-year package that could be worth up to £30m.

ITV, which broadcasts Coronation Street and The X Factor, has told Ball his terms are unacceptable. It is understood he wants to be awarded share options that are back-dated to when he was first linked to the ITV job, arguing that his very public campaign to replace Grade sparked a share-price rally.

ITV’s shares have risen by 49% since early May, when Ball’s camp went public. Over the same period, the FTSE 350 media index increased by 12.5%.

ITV has already offered a five-year deal that could net Ball up to £20m if he hits all performance targets. In addition to this he would receive an annual salary of £1m, but Ball said it was not good enough.

He told ITV he is prepared to invest £2m of his own money in the company’s shares, but he wants to change the terms of the long-term incentive plan. He has asked for the share options to be repriced and the vesting period changed. The broadcaster, which has a market value of £1.9 billion, has told Ball his terms are unacceptable.

If agreement is not reached soon, ITV will be forced to reopen the search for a successor to Michael Grade some five months after it began. The leading rival candidate, Simon Fox of HMV, ruled himself out last month.

One investor familiar with the talks said: “Ball has the support of 25% of the group’s shareholders, including Legal & General, Schroders and Fidelity, but there is a price even they will find unacceptable.â€

He added: “If it was a case of being just a few million adrift, ITV would be prepared to compromise, but the two sides are poles apart. The board wants Ball, but not at any price.â€

Ball’s demands have enraged his future colleagues. Internally, the rebellion is being led by Peter Fincham, ITV’s director of television — who may quit over the row. He has been linked to the vacant chief executive’s job at Channel 4.


Broadcaster ITV said today that underlying profits for the half year to June 30 slumped 28% as it battled an advertising slowdown.

The group's adjusted pre-tax profits came in at £91 million for the six- month period, compared with £127 million a year ago.

Considering the profits at ITV the above are from 2008, a pay packet of up to £30m seems very excessive.

Looks more like he doesn't want the job but doesn't want to turn them down to just makes huge demands.

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