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UTV Media in €6m PR firm deal

MEDIA group UTV, which saw three board members resign in controversial circumstances last month, has bought a public relations and social media agency for up to €6m.

The owner of Q102 and the ITV broadcast licence for Northern Ireland will pay an initial £1.7m (€2.03m) for Simply Zesty but that could rise to £5m (€5.9m).

The firm employs 22 people in Dublin and counts Sony and Volkswagen among its clients.

UTV chief executive John McCann said the deal was "part of our strategy to create a diversified multi-media business".

"The social media presence of UTV Media's radio and television stations in the UK and Ireland will also be enhanced by the acquisition of Simply Zesty, facilitating far greater integration of media across online and broadcast platforms," he added.

The deal is the second in as many days for the Belfast-based firm, which ousted chairman John McGuckian in February amid allegations he had become too close to Shane Reihill, who chairs private equity firm TVC and was a director at UTV. TVC has an 18pc stake in UTV.

Mr McGuckian, Mr Reihill and another director Kevin Lagan then resigned.

Irish Independent