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Disney sells stake in U.K.’s GMTV

ITV swallows early morning broadcaster

LONDON — Disney has sold its 25% stake in U.K. breakfast broadcaster GMTV.

The deal, worth £22.25 million ($37 million), means that ITV, the U.K. terrestrial giant, now owns GMTV outright.

Pact involves a one-off cash payment of £18 million ($30 million) plus an additional £4.25 million ($7 million), Disney’s share of the forecast cash balance in the GMTV business at the end of the financial year.

ITV is likely to cut costs as it integrates GMTV — which airs daily from 6 a.m.-9.25 a.m. on ITV1 — into the rest of its activities.

In a statement to the London stock market, ITV said: “The acquisition forms part of ITV’s strategy to focus on its core activities and will allow closer integration between ITV and the breakfast service.”

ITV bought STV’s 25% stake in GMTV for £31 million ($51.3 million) in 2004.

GMTV has been hit less hard than ITV by the downturn in advertising, but the station took a knock in 2007 when it was fined a record £2 million ($3.3 million) by regulator Ofcom for cheating audiences in phone quizzes.