NTL admits defeat in ITV bid battle

Cabler may return to table if BSkyB sells ITV stock

LONDON — NTL, the Nasdaq quoted U.K. cable giant, has acknowledged defeat in its recent bid for ITV, the British commercial terrestrial broadcaster.

But NTL has reserved the right to make another move if paybox BSkyB sold “all, or a material part” of its 17.9 % stake in ITV.

BSkyB spent $1.78 billion on the holding, widely seen as an attempt to block NTL’s attempted merger with ITV.

NTL has complained to U.K. regulators about the move.

“The fact that Sky would spend nearly $2 bn to acquire its stake immediately following the mere announcement of NTL’s proposed combination, before the ITV board had an opportunity to respond, highlights the magnitude of the competition issues involved,” it said.

ITV rejected NTL’s bid last month saying it undervalued the broadcaster and lacked strategic value.