U.K. Broadcaster ITV to Buy Northern Ireland Channel UTV

LONDON — U.K. television network ITV has agreed to acquire 100% of UTV Ltd, which owns the television assets of UTV Media, for £100 million ($155 million). The company operates free-to-air channel UTV, which holds the broadcast license for Northern Ireland on the U.K.’s Channel 3, and UTV Ireland, a new television channel for the Republic of Ireland, which launched at the start of this year.

On completion of the acquisition, ITV will own 13 of the 15 regional licenses for the Channel 3 network. The deal is subject to regulatory and UTV shareholder approval.

“We have a long-standing relationship with UTV, which has been the leading commercial broadcaster in Northern Ireland for many years, thanks to its strong regional identity, and blend of excellent local programming and strong network shows,” said ITV chief executive Adam Crozier.

John McCann, group chief executive of UTV Media, said: “The market leading success of our television business has been built over many years on the well-established formula of high-quality local programming packaged around an attractive network schedule. Becoming part of the ITV family is by far the best way to take UTV’s television business forward with an ongoing focus to provide brilliant television to viewers right across Ireland.”

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