Media

BSkyB sells its 6.4% stake in ITV to Virgin Media owner Liberty Global for £481m

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

July 17, 2014 | 3 min read

Virgin Media owner Liberty Global has bought BSkyB's 6.4 per cent stake in British broadcaster ITV for £481m.

The sale of fewer than 260 million ITV shares at 185p each has given the group a small stake in the British broadcaster.

Additionally, shares in ITV surged by seven per cent to 196p in early trading this morning.

Liberty Global deny they are making a takeover move on ITV

Liberty Global, which last month put its pan-European media planning account up for review after the acquisition of Virgin Media, said it has no intention of bidding for the rest of the country's biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster.

On the other hand, BskyB said it will use the revenue to finance takeovers of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland which could create a joint European broadcasting service.

Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, said: “This is an opportunistic and attractive investment for us in our largest cable market. ITV is the leading commercial broadcaster in the UK and we're excited to be shareholders.”

There has been much change in traditional British broadcasters with the ITV sale following the recent acquisition of Channel 5 by American media company Viacom.

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Billionaire John Malone's cable group Liberty Global is one of the world’s largest cable provider with operations in 14 countries with assets including Virgin Media, UPC, Unitymedia, Kabel BW, Telenet and VTR.

Liberty Global has 25 million customers subscribing to 49 million TV, broadband internet and telephone services.

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