Liberty Global subsidiary UPC Ireland has entered into an agreement with Doughty Hanson to acquire TV3, a major commercial broadcaster in Ireland, for a purchase price of €80 million. It will pay an additional €7m if TV3 hits certain performance targets. Private equity group Doughty Hanson bought TV3 in 2007 for €265 million before the recession hit.
TV3 operates two free-to-air channels, the flagship TV3 channel and the youth-oriented 3e. In addition, it has TV3+1 on UPC and Sky, and 3Player, the most widely distributed VoD platform in the country. TV3 is the number one channel in Ireland after public broadcaster RTÉ1 with an audience share of 12 per cent.
This acquisition will be subject to regulatory approval from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and a separate media plurality test by the Irish Government. It is expected the transaction will be cleared in the coming months.
“We’re pleased to welcome TV3 to the Liberty Global family,” said Magnus Ternsjö, CEO of UPC Ireland. “The investment we are making today secures the long-term future of TV3. With its wide range of home-grown programming, TV3 holds a unique place in the heart of Irish viewers. This is a terrific addition to the TV service we offer – which is already the best in Ireland.”
This year, TV3 launched a new schedule which marked the acceleration of originated programming. In January, it launched new soap Red Rock, which has been viewed by 2.3 million people and is co-produced by a unit that is 50 per cent owned by Liberty. This focus on originated content follows the opening in 2013 of the TV3 HD studio.
Christopher Fielding, a principal at Doughty Hanson, said: “We are pleased that our investment in TV3 has come to this successful conclusion. David McRedmond and his team have ably steered TV3 through the recession and with our support, grown it for five consecutive years. We wish TV3 and Liberty Global every success in the future.”