Virgin Media agrees deal to buy UTV Ireland for 10m euro
UTV Ireland is being bought for 10 million euro by Virgin Media.
The telecoms and television giant, run under tycoon Sir Richard Branson’s brand, is adding the country’s youngest TV station to its books after sealing the deal for TV3 late last year.
Virgin Media said the deal with station owner ITV was further testament to the confidence it has in Irish television programming and production.
Chief executive Tony Hanway said: “This investment demonstrates our commitment to provide great entertainment for Irish viewers and adds Ireland’s newest TV channel to our existing portfolio which includes TV3 and 3e.
“This is a very positive development for Irish broadcasting and ensures Virgin Media’s continued investment in top-quality programming and local production.”
Among the shows UTV Ireland has rights to are Emmerdale and Coronation Street.
Virgin Media is part of the Liberty Global Group owned by US billionaire John Malone.
The deal he has secured also includes a 10-year rights agreement to some ITV-produced programming.
Pat Kiely, managing director of TV3, said: “Virgin Media’s investment in TV3 has already supported the expansion of our studio facilities and increased production of originated content.
“The proposed acquisition of UTV Ireland will ensure further investment in the independent Irish television sector as we continue to compete head-on against significant local and international competition.”
The deal will be reviewed by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and a separate government plurality before completion in the coming months.