UTV Media has confirmed that it is to sell the whole of its television business to ITV for £100 million. UTV Media is the owner of the ITV franchise in Northern Ireland and loss-making channel UTV Ireland, and has been in talks with ITV since August.
Commenting on the sale, Richard Huntingford (pictured), chairman of UTV said: “The last few years have seen increasing consolidation in the global television sector, creating media companies that span content, broadcast and platform ownership. Having successfully extended the reach of our television business with the launch of UTV Ireland, I believe that shareholder value can be maximised through our television interests becoming part of ITV’s global broadcast and content business.
“I believe that the price reflects the inherent value within the UTV Television business. ITV will be a good owner of the business and, with its scale and reach, will be able to accelerate the future growth of the business. “
According to UTV Media, the sale of its TV assets will allow the company to focus on opportunities within radio and online going forward. UTV Media’s radio business includes Radio GB operated talkSPORT, as well as 12 independent local radio stations in England and Wales and a number of digital radio multiplexes throughout Britain.
UTV Ireland launched in January this year and in March announced that it expected to make a full-year loss in the region of £6 million, which it blamed on delays to EPG positions, agency negotiations and slower than expected audience build.
For the six-month period ending 30 June 2015, UTV Television had revenues of £21.6 million, losses before tax and finance costs of £3.9 million, and gross assets of £96.9 million as at 30 June 2015 out of total gross assets of the UTV Television group of £222.5 million.