Virgin Media sells UKTV stake

Virgin Media has sold its 50% stake in UKTV to US TV company Scripps Networks Interactive for £339m.

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The deal will see the US company pay an initial £239m to buy the stake, and a further £100m to acquire the outstanding stock and debt owed by UKTV to Virgin Media.

Scripps Network Interactive, which owns US TV brands including Cooking Channel, and the Travel Channel, and will now work alongside BBC Worldwide, which owns the other 50% stake in the UKTV, to grow the company.

Scripps Networks Interactive president and CEO Kenneth W. Lowe said the deal will help it strengthen its international presence and open up multi-channel opportunities. “UKTV is a significant opportunity for Scripps Networks Interactive to participate in a thriving multi-channel, dual revenue stream media business in one of the world’s largest television markets,” he said.

“Making a solid investment in UKTV and entering into a strong partnership with BBC Worldwide reinforces our core international strategy which we believe will create significant long-term value for our shareholders,” added Lowe.

The US network is also in talks with BBC Worldwide to negoitiate an agreement which will give the British broadcaster the option to increase its stake in UKTV to 60%.

UKTV has a portfolio of 10 channels including Dave, Gold, Home, Yesterday, and Good Food, all of which are accompanied by websites.

The news follows a major restructuring within UKTV, which appointed ITV’s Emma Tennant as controller across all channels and multi-platform activities.

This story first appeared on New Media Age. For more digital stories and analysis’ from NMA click here now

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