U.S. TV channels operator Scripps Network Interactive has agreed to buy a 50% stake in U.K. pay TV company UKTV in a deal worth £339 million ($556 million).
Virgin Media will sell its stake in UKTV, which is 50% owned by BBC Worldwide.
The deal, which needs to be approved by the governments of Ireland and Jersey, includes a payment of about $164 million for the outstanding preferred stocks and debt that UKTV owes Virgin Media.
UKTV airs 10 lifestyle and entertainment channels — including guys’ channel Dave and historical docu and drama channel Yesterday — with a total 36 million viewers a month.
“UKTV is a significant opportunity for Scripps Networks
Interactive to participate in a thriving multi-channel, dual revenue stream media business in one of the world’s largest television markets,” said Kenneth W. Lowe
, Scripps’ chairman, president and CEO.
BBC Worldwide wants to up its stake to 60% and is offering Scripps a combination of cash and a package of digital rights for the 10%.