Virgin to sell UKTV stake

Potential bidders may include BSkyB, C4

Virgin Media has put its 50% stake in U.K. pay TV channel portfolio UKTV on the market for a reported £350 million ($558 million).

Potential buyers are said to include News Corp. satcaster BSkyB and Channel 4, whose CEO David Abraham used to run UKTV.

BBC Worldwide, which owns the other half of UKTV, has first refusal and the right to OK any new owner.

However, were BBC Worldwide to own UKTV outright, it might pose political problems for the BBC, which is already under fire from rivals for what they claim is continuous empire building.

UKTV was set up in 1997 by BBC Worldwide and Flextech, the content-arm of Telewest. Virgin inherited the channels in 2007 in a merger with NTL Telewest — and the possible sale had been touted before that deal went through.

Recently, Virgin CEO Neil Berkett, who for some time has refocused the firm on content delivery rather than content per se, confirmed a sale was in the pipeline.

The Sunday Times said UBS and Goldman Sachs have been appointed to find a buyer, but neither would confirm that.

Earlier this month Virgin Media sold seven TV channels to BSkyB for $255 million, including Living and Bravo.

More TV

  • Issa Rae’s Talent Drive Leads to

    Issa Rae’s Talent Drive Leads to Sci-Fi Pilot ‘The Awoken’

    Virgin Media has put its 50% stake in U.K. pay TV channel portfolio UKTV on the market for a reported £350 million ($558 million). Potential buyers are said to include News Corp. satcaster BSkyB and Channel 4, whose CEO David Abraham used to run UKTV. BBC Worldwide, which owns the other half of UKTV, has […]

  • DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER

    Dubai: Festival President Abdulhamid Juma on Growing The Market And Opening to TV

    Virgin Media has put its 50% stake in U.K. pay TV channel portfolio UKTV on the market for a reported £350 million ($558 million). Potential buyers are said to include News Corp. satcaster BSkyB and Channel 4, whose CEO David Abraham used to run UKTV. BBC Worldwide, which owns the other half of UKTV, has […]

  • Robert Knepper

    Warner Bros. Finds 'No Evidence of Wrongdoing' by Robert Knepper on 'iZombie' Set

    Virgin Media has put its 50% stake in U.K. pay TV channel portfolio UKTV on the market for a reported £350 million ($558 million). Potential buyers are said to include News Corp. satcaster BSkyB and Channel 4, whose CEO David Abraham used to run UKTV. BBC Worldwide, which owns the other half of UKTV, has […]

  • Godless

    TV Review: 'Godless' on Netflix

    Virgin Media has put its 50% stake in U.K. pay TV channel portfolio UKTV on the market for a reported £350 million ($558 million). Potential buyers are said to include News Corp. satcaster BSkyB and Channel 4, whose CEO David Abraham used to run UKTV. BBC Worldwide, which owns the other half of UKTV, has […]

  • The Office

    TV News Roundup: Comedy Central Acquires All Nine Seasons of 'The Office'

    Virgin Media has put its 50% stake in U.K. pay TV channel portfolio UKTV on the market for a reported £350 million ($558 million). Potential buyers are said to include News Corp. satcaster BSkyB and Channel 4, whose CEO David Abraham used to run UKTV. BBC Worldwide, which owns the other half of UKTV, has […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content