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UTV 'to face pressure after TV3 buyout'

UPC's purchase of TV3 is likely to ramp up the pressure on struggling UTV Ireland, according to Davy Stockbrokers.

The deal - worth as much as €87m - means UPC owner Liberty Global will be able to bring new content to the station and attract audiences from competitors, analyst Robert Stokes said.

UTV Ireland's presenters include news anchor Alison Comyn (inset) and former RTE star Pat Kenny, who presents a chat show.

"We view this deal as a negative for the already struggling UTV Ireland," Stokes said.

"Liberty is buying TV3 at a good point in the advertising cycle as spending on TV ads is strengthening after years of freefall," he said.

Liberty bought a TV station in Belgium last year and also has a small stake in ITV.

"For UPC, the opportunities for investing in TV programming, coupled with the group's distribution abilities, were among the benefits of the deal," added Stokes.

"TV3 will now be in a position to invest in content and infrastructure."