ITN buys 49% of Euronews

LONDON — Britain’s Independent Television News (ITN) group said on Friday it was taking control of TV news channel Euronews, becoming the first British broadcaster to take part in the European venture.

ITN, the sole bidder in the deal, said it paid £5.1 million ($8.5 million) to buy the 49% stake in Euronews held by French telecom group Alcatel Alsthom.

The deal marks the first time that ITN, which supplies news shows to Britain’s ITV commercial network, as well as Channel Four and Channel Five, will operate a TV news channel.

“This is a significant step for ITN. In a sense, we’re taking our destiny into our own hands,” ITN chief executive Stewart Purvis told reporters.

Euronews, a multilingual news network, broadcasts 24 hours a day to cable and satellite viewers in some 90 million homes across Europe and parts of the Middle East. The network rivals the BBC World service, as well as Time Warner Inc.’s CNN.

Earlier this month, the French government said Euronews would post a deficit of 30 million francs ($5.1 million) this year on turnover of 187 million francs ($32 million).

The channel, based in Lyon, France, will continue to be 51% owned by European broadcasters including France Television, RAI of Italy, RTVE of Spain and SSR of Switzerland.

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