UK commercial broadcaster ITV has received government approval to take over the TV assets of Northern Ireland’s UTV Media.
Last October, ITV reached a conditional agreement worth US$154 million (£100 million) to secure the company’s TV assets, including UTV Ireland. The channel launched in January 2015 but has struggled to make money.
The ITV sale has since been approved by the Irish broadcast regulators and the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. Now that the Irish Minister for Communications has signed off, the deal is expected to go through on February 29.
UTV Media is holding on to its radio businesses, UTV Radio GB and UTV Radio Ireland, as well as its digital media businesses, Simply Zesty and Tibus Digital.
In other ITV news, the broadcaster has commissioned the wildlife series Fierce starring Steve Backshall (6 x 60 minutes). Produced by Shiver, the show will follow the TV naturalist to Guyana, Mexico, Namibia, Indonesia, Australia and South Africa where he seeks out fearsome and feisty creatures such as American crocodiles, the endangered Giant River Otter and the Honey Badger. Sally Evans is exec producing for Shiver.