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STV to become only independent

ITV to acquire UTV television assets in £100 million deal

UTVUpdate Monday: ITV has announced the acquisition of Northern Ireland based UTV’s television assets in a £100 million takeover.

The deal includes UTV Ireland which is likely to make a £11.5m loss in its first year. Talks have been ongoing since August.

It will see control of the channel move out of Northern Ireland for the fist time since the station was set up in 1958. UTV also owns the TalkSport radio station.

Following ITV’s consolidation of the regional television network, STV will be the only independent regional broadcaster on channel three.

Following the sale of its TV assets, UTV Media will be left with a sizeable radio operation divided into two divisions.

Commenting on the Sale, Richard Huntingford, Chairman of UTV said: “The last few years have seen increasing consolidation in the global television sector, creating media companies that span content, broadcast and platform ownership. Having successfully extended the reach of our television business with the launch of UTV Ireland, I believe that Shareholder value can be maximised through our television interests becoming part of ITV’s global broadcast and content business.

“I believe that the price reflects the inherent value within the UTV Television business. ITV will be a good owner of the business and, with its scale and reach, will be able to accelerate the future growth of the business. I want to thank all the UTV Television staff for their outstanding service to UTV over many years, and I wish them every success in the future.

“As the UTV Pension Scheme will remain with UTV Limited, this removes any future funding liability from the Continuing Group, and our Shareholders will benefit from a significant return of cash.  We plan to continue to pursue our successful strategy in our radio businesses.”

Adam Crozier, chief executive of ITV said: “We have a long-standing relationship with UTV, which has been the leading commercial broadcaster in Northern Ireland for many years thanks to its strong regional identity and blend of excellent local programming and strong network shows.

“UTV Television’s strategic objectives are closely aligned with our own and we are very pleased that they are joining the ITV family. We are looking forward to working with the team going forward.”

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