NTL Europe to sell ITV stake

B'caster wants to enter ring with Sky, BBC news

LONDON — Commercial broadcaster ITV’s largest shareholders, Carlton and Granada, are close to pacting with NTL Europe for its 35% stake in their paybox, the ITV News Channel.

NTL Europe, which was spun-off from cabler NTL following its debt restructuring, is selling off non-core assets to focus on key entities, such as soccer Web site Premium TV.

Carlton and Granada want ITV News to compete with Sky News and BBC News 24, which both drew sizeable audiences during the war in Iraq.

ITV News has already signed up well-known but not current newsreaders Angela Rippon and Alistair Stewart.

News provider ITN’s deal to supply content to the channel expires in 2009.

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