Tuesday 24 April 2018

ITV to buy UTV Ireland as part of £100m deal, intends to "strengthen" Irish station further

Newsreader Alison Comyn at the launch of UTV Ireland
Newsreader Alison Comyn at the launch of UTV Ireland
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

UTV Media has confirmed it has entered a £100m agreement to sell its television assets - including UTV Ireland - to ITV.

UTV said the deal would enable it to focus on "continuing opportunities" in radio and online. In connection with the sale the company says it intends to stop using the name "UTV", contingent on shareholder approval.

ITV said it intends to strengthen UTV Ireland further "with high-quality ITV programming at its core".

The deal will see the UTV's existing bank facilities repaid in full, and the company says it intends to return some of the sale proceeds to shareholders, with the precise amount not yet determined.

UTV Media shares were up 8.7pc in Dublin this morning on the back of the announcement.

"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," UTV chairman Richard Huntingford said.

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