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Liberty Global acquires Irish TV network TV3

MUMBAI: John Malone’s pan European cable network Liberty Global has acquired Irish commercial network TV3 in a deal estimated at nearly $96 million.

The acquisition was made by UPC Ireland, a subsidiary of Liberty Global, from UK private equity fund manager Doughty Hanson & Co.

The deal will see the Irish broadcaster joining All3Media owned Liberty Global, one of the largest international cable companies operating in 14 countries with a market cap of over $42 billion.

UPC Ireland CEO Magnus Ternsjo said, “We’re pleased to welcome TV3 to the Liberty Global family. The investment we are making today secures the long-term future of TV3 Group. With its wide range of home-grown programming, TV3 holds a unique place in the heart of Irish viewers. This is a terrific addition to the TV service we offer, which is already the best in Ireland.”

TV3 operates two free-to-air channels, the flagship TV3 and youth-oriented 3e. It also operates 3Player, which the company says is the most widely distributed VOD platform in the country.

The network mentions that it is the number one channel in Ireland behind public broadcaster RTE1 with an audience share of 12 per cent.

TV3 CEO David McRedmond stated, “TV3′s employees have transformed the company from an old-model channel reliant on foreign programming into a contemporary media company originating its own content distributed across multiple platforms. This deal is a great endorsement of TV3′s strategy and team by a leading global company, and is also an expression of confidence in the continuing turnaround in the Irish economy.”

The network is Ireland’s only privately owned, terrestrial, free-to-air national, commercial TV channel. Doughty Hanson first purchased TV3 Group in 2006 for $292 million.

Liberty Global is the largest cable company in the world, with 27 million customers across 14 countries. Its assets include Virgin Media, Unity Media and Ziggo.

The company is looking to diversify its offering by owning more wireless assets so it can get into the quad play business of offering TV, landline phone, broadband Internet and wireless service.

It has steadily increased its presence in the UK market, buying pay TV and broadband company Virgin Media for $24 billion in 2013 and buying out BSkyB’s 6.4 per cent stake in ITV last year for $750 million.