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.
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.
“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.