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U.K.’s Yes affirms IPO; WB, BVI taking shares

Listing could value TV company at $942 mil

LONDON — Yes Television has announced plans to float an IPO on the London Stock Exchange, a move that will include Warner Bros. Intl. Television and Buena Vista Intl. Television taking stakes in the video-on-demand TV company.

Warners and Buena Vista, which, along with Sony, supply movies to Yes, are expected to each acquire about 10% of the company.

The listing, which could value Yes at around £600 million ($942 million), is intended to fund the expansion of the service across the U.K. At present, Yes has only a local footprint in northern England.

Meanwhile, rival Video Networks has revealed that it is considering a $1.6 billion float late this year to finance the national rollout of its HomeChoice platform, which is currently available only in parts of London.

Both companies will be rolling out in tandem with the launch of British Telecom’s high-speed ADSL telephone lines. Although they now have only a handful of subscribers, access to all of the U.K. could build them into significant players.

Yes aims to offer what it calls “total television,” everything from VOD to e-commerce to Internet access.

A spokesperson said Yes considers satcaster BSkyB’s SkyDigital as well as Ondigital, the terrestrial platform owned by ITV companies Carlton and Granada, to be potential partners, not competitors. Yes could provide both platforms with the broadband return path that digital cable can offer.

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