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John Malone’s Liberty Global Ups ITV Stake to 9.9%

ITV airs hit shows like 'X Factor,' 'Downton Abbey' (above)

LONDON — John Malone’s international cable TV company Liberty Global has increased its stake in U.K. broadcaster ITV to 9.9%.

Liberty Global bought a 6.4% stake in ITV, whose shows include “The X Factor” and “Downton Abbey,” last year from European pay TV operator Sky.

“Given ITV’s operating and stock price performance, we were able to increase our stake to 9.9% with no incremental investment by hedging our existing equity position,” Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said.

“This investment remains an opportunistic one for us in our largest market. ITV is a well-run company with attractive growth potential, and we are pleased to increase our position as their largest shareholder.”

Liberty Global stated that it does not intend to make an offer to acquire ITV, although it reserves the right to do so in the future.

Liberty Global has been steadily increasing its investments in the U.K. It already owns U.K. pay TV company Virgin Media and half of All3Media, which comprises a wide-range of TV production companies, mostly in the U.K. but also in the U.S.

ITV itself has been acquiring production companies in the U.K. and the U.S., as it seeks to reduce its reliance on advertising revenue.

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