Liberty Global has increased its stake in broadcaster ITV to 9.9 per cent. The US cable company acquired 138.7 million shares in ITV, thereby increasing its existing stake to a total of 398.5 million shares. However, Liberty Global has confirmed that it does not intend to make an offer to acquire ITV.
Although the company does not intend to make such an offer, the terms of the agreement means that it does reserve the right to announce an offer or possible offer for the broadcaster within the next six months.
Shares in ITV, which reported a 25 per cent increase in first-half pre-tax profit on Tuesday, have risen by 57 per cent since Liberty bought its initial stake.
Liberty bought its initial holding in ITV from satellite broadcaster Sky in July 2014 for £481 millon, which increased ITV’s share price by 8 per cent. It also bought pay-TV and broadband provider Virgin Media in 2013 and is reported to be in talks with Vodafone regarding an asset sharing agreement.
CEO Mike Fries (pictured), stated, “Given ITV’s operating and stock price performance, we were able to increase our stake to 9.9 per cent with no incremental investment by hedging our existing equity position. This investment remains an opportunistic one for us in our largest market. ITV is a well-run company with attractive growth potential, and we are pleased to increase our position as their largest shareholder.
Liberty Global currently operates in 14 countries. Its networks and technology platforms connect 27 million customers subscribing to 56 million television, broadband internet and telephone services. The company also serves five million mobile subscribers and offers WiFi access across over five million access points.