Liberty Global takes $823m stake in ITV

Liberty Global has acquired a 6.4% stake in UK broadcaster ITV for £481 million (US$823 million).
July 17, 2014

Liberty Global has acquired a 6.4% stake in UK broadcaster ITV for £481 million (US$823 million).

The company, which owns Virgin Media, has acquired 259.8 million shares, taking over the stake currently held by UK pay-TV network BSkyB.

In a stock market filing, Liberty said it intends to finance the acquisition “through a combination of a loan linked to a hedging transaction that would be secured by ITV shares and existing liquidity.”

Liberty Global’s CEO Mike Fries said: “This is an opportunistic and attractive investment for us in our largest cable market. ITV is the leading commercial broadcaster in the UK and we’re excited to be shareholders.”

The investment comes with ITV having embarked on an indie spending spree over the past two years. The broadcaster acquired 80% of U.S. prodco Leftfield Entertainment in May, in a deal which its ITV Studios U.S. Group division said would make it the largest independent unscripted producer in the country.

Leftfield was the latest addition to an ITV Studios-controlled portfolio of U.S. indies that includes Gurney Productions, High Noon Entertainment, Thinkfactory Media and DiGa Vision, in addition to UK producers So Television, The Garden and Big Talk.

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Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.