Malone's Liberty buys ITV stake from BSkyB
US-based cable group Liberty Global has bought BSkyB's 6.4pc stake in ITV, Britain's biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, boosting its shares on hopes of a wider bid.
Billionaire John Malone's Liberty, which bought British cable operator Virgin Media as part of a European expansion last year, said it did not intend to make an offer for the rest of the broadcaster, but ITV shares still rose as much as 9pc.
The sale, at £481m (€608m), may also indicate that BSkyB is looking to raise cash to push ahead with its own expansion plans after it opened talks to buy Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland. The purchase is just the latest in a string of deals in the global media sector to buy content and follows ITV's drive to develop its production arm and generate revenue beyond advertising.
"It is hard to see how this will not be looked at as anything other than Liberty planting a flag in the ground for a potential acquisition at some point," said Liberum analyst Ian Whittaker said.