Virgin Media to Acquire UTV Ireland
Acquisition establishes Virgin Media as leading Irish free-to-air commercial broadcaster
Ireland, July 11, 2016: Virgin Media Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Global plc (“Liberty Global”) (NASDAQ: LBTYA, LBTYB, LBTYK, LILA and LILAK) today announced that it has entered into an agreement with ITV plc to acquire UTV Ireland, the nation’s newest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, for a purchase price of €10 million. The agreement also includes a comprehensive 10 year output deal for Ireland for ITV produced programming. The purchase price is expected to be funded through existing liquidity.
The proposed transaction follows the successful acquisition of TV3 Group last year and is further testament to the confidence Virgin Media has in the Irish TV programming and production sectors. On completion of the acquisition, UTV Ireland will become part of Virgin Media which will be an essential step to securing the channel’s long term future.
UTV Ireland is a general entertainment free-to-air channel which is available on Virgin Media, eir Vision, Vodafone, Sky and Saorview. It offers compelling content such as Emmerdale and Coronation Street as well as live streaming and catch-up services and its UTV Player is available across a variety of devices.
Tony Hanway, CEO of Virgin Media, said: “We are delighted to welcome UTV Ireland to the Virgin Media family. This investment demonstrates our commitment to provide great entertainment for Irish viewers and adds Ireland's newest TV channel to our existing portfolio which includes TV3 and 3e. This is a very positive development for Irish broadcasting and ensures Virgin Media's continued investment in top quality programming and local production."
Pat Kiely, MD of TV3, said: “Today’s announcement represents an exciting new chapter for the Irish television industry. Virgin Media's investment in TV3 has already supported the expansion of our studio facilities and increased production of originated content. The proposed acquisition of UTV Ireland will ensure further investment in the independent Irish television sector as we continue to compete head on against significant local and international competition."
This acquisition will be subject to competition and regulatory approval from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland as well as a separate media plurality test by the Irish Government. It is expected the transaction will be cleared in the coming months.
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About UTV Ireland
UTV Ireland is a free-to-air general entertainment channel that launched in Ireland on January 1, 2015. The channel is owned and operated by ITV’s plc subsidiary UTV Ireland Ltd (previously owned by UTV Media plc, now known as Wireless Group plc). The channel, along with UTV in Northern Ireland, officially transferred to ITV ownership on February 29, 2016.
About Virgin Media
Virgin Media offers four multi award-winning services across Ireland and the UK including: broadband, TV, mobile phone and landline. The company’s dedicated network delivers the fastest widely available broadband speeds to homes and businesses. Our interactive TV service brings live programmes, thousands of hours of on-demand programming and the best apps, as well as on-the-go for tablets and smartphones. We also have a virtual mobile network, offering fantastic value and services. We are also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers across Ireland and the UK.
Virgin Media is the owner of TV3 - Ireland’s leading commercial broadcaster operating two free-to-air channels (TV3 and 3e) and a digital platform with a major emphasis on home produced programming. TV3 recently secured exclusive rights to Six Nations Rugby for four years from 2018 and 22 Euro 2016 matches. TV3 has sold its originated drama Red Rock to the BBC who will commence broadcasting the show on July 11th on BBC1.
Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international cable company, with operations in more than 30 countries.
About Liberty Global
Liberty Global is the world’s largest international TV and broadband company, with operations in more than 30 countries across Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. We invest in the infrastructure that empowers our customers to make the most of the digital revolution. Our scale and commitment to innovation enable us to develop market-leading products delivered through next-generation networks that connect our customers who subscribe to over 59 million television, broadband internet and telephony services. We also serve over ten million mobile subscribers and offer WiFi service across six million access points.1
Liberty Global’s businesses are comprised of two stocks: the Liberty Global Group (NASDAQ: LBTYA, LBTYB and LBTYK) for our European operations, and the LiLAC Group (NASDAQ: LILA and LILAK, OTC Link: LILAB), which consists of our operations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Liberty Global Group operates in 12 European countries under the consumer brands Virgin Media, Ziggo, Unitymedia, Telenet and UPC. The LiLAC Group operates in over 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean under the consumer brands VTR, Flow, Liberty, Mas Movil and BTC. In addition, the LiLAC Group operates a submarine fibre network throughout the region in over 30 markets. For more information, please visit www.libertyglobal.com