15 Dec 2017
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John Malone’s Liberty Global acquires BSkyB’s 6.4% stake in ITV for £481 mn

MUMBAI: John Malone’s Liberty Global has acquired British Sky Broadcasting Group’s 6.4 per cent stake in ITV for £481 million.

Liberty Global intends to finance the acquisition of ITV shares through a combination of a loan linked to a hedging transaction that would be secured by ITV shares and existing liquidity. With this level of investment, no regulatory approvals are required.

Liberty Global’s chief executive officer Mike Fries commented, “This is an opportunistic and attractive investment for us in our largest cable market. ITV is the leading commercial broadcaster in the U.K. and we’re excited to be shareholders.”

Liberty Global also confirmed that it does not intend to make an offer to acquire ITV. However, it said that it does reserve the right to make or participate in an offer for ITV within the next six months following the date of this announcement.

Liberty Global is the largest international cable company with operations in 14 countries. The company provides triple-play services through next-generation networks and innovative technology platforms that connects 25 million customers subscribing to 49 million television, broadband internet and telephony services.

Liberty Global’s consumer brands include Virgin Media, UPC, Unitymedia, Kabel BW, Telenet and VTR. Its operations also include Liberty Global Business Services, its commercial division, and Liberty Global Ventures, its investment fund.

ITV is an integrated producer broadcaster, operating the largest commercial family of channels in the UK. ITV broadcasts a wide variety of content on its family of free to air (FTA) channels, consisting of ITV, the largest commercial television channel in the UK, and the digital channels, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV.

In addition to linear broadcast, ITV delivers its content across multiple platforms. This is either through ITV Player, available on ITV’s website, itv.com, and platforms such as Virgin and Sky, or through direct content deals with services such as Lovefilm and Netflix.