British Sky Broadcasting purportedly sought to unload its stake in ITV in advance of a potential merger of its European pay TV platforms
Liberty Global has picked up a 6.4 percent stake in the U.K.'s leading commercial broadcaster, ITV, acquiring it from U.K. pay TV company British Sky Broadcasting, for approximately $825 million.
Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, called it an “opportunistic and attractive investment for us in our largest cable market,” according to media reports. Last year, Liberty Global acquired Virgin Media, which was the largest cable operator in Britain.
The company will purportedly finance the deal through a combination of existing liquidity, and a loan. In Britain, there are no regulatory approvals needed for “this level of investment,” according to the Liberty Global. Earlier this year, Liberty Global sold its content division, Chellomedia, to AMC Networks for approximately $1 billion.
Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns 39 percent of BSkyB, and had analysts anticipating a sale of its stake in ITV, according to media reports. This comes amid talks of a possible deal to combine Fox's other European pay-TV networks, Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia.
Liberty Global further stated that it “does not intend to make an offer to acquire ITV,” but it does reserve the right to announce such an offer within the next six months.