* UTV says John McGuckian's ties with TVC comprised
* Appoints Helen Kirkpatrick interim chairman
* Shares jump 13 percent
(Adds comments from TVC, analyst, background)
By Jochelle Mendonca and Brenton Cordeiro
Feb 23 Northern Irish broadcaster UTV
Media said its board voted to remove John McGuckian as
chairman of the company, due to his close association with its
largest shareholder TVC Holdings, an Ireland-based
Shares of the company shot up about 13 percent to 135.25
pence by 1530 GMT on Thursday on the London Stock Exchange. The
stock has risen 30 percent so far this year.
UTV Media, which owns the popular soccer show TalkSport,
said a majority of its board members considered that McGuckian's
close association with TVC compromised his independence to a
great extent leading to the vote.
"The chairman was not acting independently of TVC. There was
a concern that preferential treatment was being shown to one
shareholder specifically and this has prompted today's action,"
a UTV spokesman said.
Following the ouster, McGuckian, who has been on UTV's board
since 1970, Shane Reihill and Kevin Lagan also resigned from the
board, UTV Media said in a statement.
Reihill is the executive chairman of TVC Holdings and
McGuckian is a non-executive director on its board.
"There may be some corporate activity involving these
individuals and their investment vehicle and the company," Peel
Hunt analyst Patrick Yau told Reuters.
"There is clearly something going on behind the scenes which
we are not seeing at the moment," Yau said.
TVC Holdings has an 18 percent stake in UTV Media, according
to Thomson Reuters data.
TVC said in a separate statement that a majority of the
non-executive directors opposed the removal of McGuckian.
"The actions taken by the executive directors and a minority
of non-executive directors to have the chairman removed from his
position without following due process were contrary to the UK
Corporate Governance Code," TVC said.
UTV Media said Helen Kirkpatrick, another non-executive
director, had agreed to become its interim chairman.
(Reporting by Jochelle Mendonca and Brenton Cordeiro in
Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)