Virgin Media agree deal to buy UTV Ireland for €10m
US billionaire John Malone has sealed his latest Irish deal, adding UTV Ireland to the Virgin Media business here.
Virgin Media, part of Malone’s Liberty Global group, said it has entered into an agreement with ITV to acquire UTV Ireland for €10 million.
The agreement includes a 10 year deal covering rights to ITV produced programming – including soaps such as Coronation Street.
Liberty Global bought TV3 last year. The company said the deal is an essential step to securing loss making UTV Ireland’s long term future.
In a statement Christy Swords, Director, Broadcast Finance & Operations for ITV, said: “Launching UTV Ireland last year represented a significant achievement by the teams in Dublin and Belfast in challenging circumstances.
ITV took over the business a few months ago and we've concluded that bringing TV3 and UTV Ireland together under common ownership offers the best prospect of delivering a strong and sustainable Irish commercial broadcaster, underpinned by a long-term programming agreement with ITV.
“We recognise that this has been an uncertain period for the staff of UTV and UTV Ireland and we have been determined to reach a speedy resolution. We believe that the decision we have made represents an important step forward for the future of the channel.”