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Granada buys into Irish TV3

Joint firm to be formed with TV3 founders, CanWest Global

LONDON — Granada Media has purchased a 45% share in independent Irish station TV3 in a £29.3 million ($41 million) deal.

Granada will form a joint venture company with TV3’s founders and CanWest Global Communications, which also owns 45% of the channel.

Deal, which values TV3 at $130 million, will be satisfied in cash and an assumption of debt. It must be approved by the IRTC, Ireland’s commercial TV regulator.

TV3, the Republic of Ireland’s only independent commercial free-to-air channel, has built over a 9% audience share since its launch in 1998, making it the third most watched web.

Granada has agreed to sell its major program brands, including the popular soaps “Coronation Street” and “Emmerdale,” to TV3. “Coronation,” currently airing on pubcaster RTE, is Ireland’s top-rated program. It will move to TV3 on Jan. 1.

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