And it’s all over. Lord Grade of Elstree and the Board of Directors of ACC stood down on 14 January 1982 after Robert Holmes a’Court amassed over 50% of the non-voting shares in the company and began a legal battle to allow him to take control of the company or sell it to the highest bidder. A high court judge put ACC up for sale and Holmes a’Court’s TVW Enterprises bought it for 110p a share in April 1982. He began the break-up of the Corporation by selling ACC’s stake in Central TV.
Lew never forgave him.
The year which ended on 31st March 1981 proved the most difficult in the company’s history. Turnover rose to £250 million [£916.1m in today’s money allowing for inflation – Ed] but pre-tax profits declined to £2.6 million [£9.5m]. New financial measures have been taken and these will, I believe, restore the Group to a satisfactory level of profitability.
Certain of the divisions, notably Television, Music Publishing, Travel and Hotel, Insurance and Property, produced excellent results and, in due course, consideration will be given to expansion in appropriate areas. Meanwhile, a committee has been appointed to advise on future development.
Central Independent Television Ltd., a new subsidiary to be owned 51% by ACC, has been awarded a seven-day-a-week 8-year franchise from the Independent Broadcasting Authority for the East and West Midlands areas, in succession to the contract previously held by ATV Network.
The results of the Film division were unsatisfactory and, for the future, the Group will not embark single-handed on feature film production.
Pre-recorded video cassettes constitute a new growth industry. Precision Video Ltd. is already extremely profitable, though another subsidiary, PRT, suffered the ill effects of the overall recession in the record industry.
An independent valuation of Group property in March 1981 shows an appreciation to some £90 million [£329.8m] as compared with the last published figure of £67 million [£245.5m].
The company is being re-registered as a PLC. Share certificates will remain valid. New certificates will be issued when a holdings is transferred.
About the author
As a public company with shareholders, ATV was required to publish a detailed Annual Report at the end of each financial year. It was common to also publish a Chairman's Statement, summing up the report in more readable language.