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ITV sells Oz TV stake

Sale aims to boost operator's bottom line

ITV, Blighty’s leading terrestrial commercial broadcaster, has sold its stake in Australia’s Seven Network for £87 million ($163.6 million).

Sale of the 11.6% share is the latest in an ongoing series aimed at boosting the operator’s bottom line.

Deal takes the proceeds from the sale of noncore businesses to nearly £400 million ($752 million) since ITV was created from the merger of Carlton and Granada more than two years ago.

ITV, which is trying to reposition itself to meet the challenge of new media, previously offloaded Carlton Books, facilities house the Moving Picture Co. and Granada Learning.

It is expected to sell its stake in Ireland’s TV3 following a bid by a private equity group last week.

Run by media mogul Kerry Stokes, the newly invigorated Seven, boosted by U.S. fare like “Prison Break” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” is challenging Nine Network as Oz’s ratings leader.

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