Virgin Media’s €10m purchase of UTV Ireland receives approval

16 Nov 2016458 Views

The Rovers Return on Coronation Street, a show on UTV Ireland. Image: jayneandd/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Four months after revealing its €10m pursuit of UTV Ireland, cable broadband and TV player Virgin Media has received regulatory approval for the deal.

Boasting a title of Ireland’s “newest free-to-air commercial broadcaster”, Virgin Media is pleased at receiving regulatory and competition approval to acquire UTV Ireland.

The deal, thought to be valued at €10m, brings Virgin’s outlay on Irish broadcasters to almost €100m in recent months. Last year, TV3 was acquired by Virgin for €87m from Doughty Hanson.

UTV Ireland

The UTV acquisition includes a comprehensive 10-year output deal for Ireland for ITV-produced programming.

“We’re delighted to have received regulatory approval to acquire UTV Ireland,” said Tony Hanway, CEO of Virgin Media in Ireland.

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“This follows our acquisition of TV3 last year and we look forward to playing an even bigger role in the Irish broadcasting sector.”

Pat Kiely, MD of TV3, said: “The purchase of UTV Ireland is good news for viewers and will support TV3 to further compete against significant local and international competition.”

UTV is a free-to-air channel that is available on Virgin, Eir Vision, Vodafone, Sky and Saorview and has a major following, due to its rights to popular UK soaps Emmerdale and Coronation Street.

Last year UTV Ireland, at that stage only a few months old, was sold to ITV, the UK’s largest commercial public service broadcaster.

Finally going through as part of a deal including UTV, the channel had by that stage filed significant losses in its early days.

Rovers Return on Coronation Street, a show on UTV Ireland. Image: jayneandd/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Gordon Hunt is senior communications and content executive at NDRC. He previously worked as a journalist with Silicon Republic.