UTV Ireland is set to be acquired by Virgin Media, following the purchase of both UTV Ireland and elder broadcaster UTV Northern Ireland by ITVplc earlier in 2016.
“Launching UTV Ireland last year represented a significant achievement by the teams in Dublin and Belfast in challenging circumstances. ITV took over the business a few months ago and we’ve concluded that bringing TV3 and UTV Ireland together under common ownership offers the best prospect of delivering a strong and sustainable Irish commercial broadcaster, underpinned by a long-term programming agreement with ITV.” – Christy Swords, Director, Broadcast Finance & Operations for ITV
ITV plc, recent owners of UTV and UTV Ireland, have announced that they are to sell-off the 2015 launched UTV Ireland. The channel is to be bought-out by Virgin Media, owner of TV3, subject to regulatory approval.
The acquisition will not be completed until it is cleared by the regulators, which is expected to take some months. Until then, ITV remains the owner of UTV Ireland and is committed to maintaining the service during that time.
As part of the deal, Virgin Media will also take over a 10-year programme supply agreement with ITV Global Entertainment. UTV Ireland was launched in January 2015, prior to ITV’s acquisition of UTV’s television assets earlier this year.
UTV was one of only two remaining ‘independent’ television broadcast and production companies on the ITV Network not owned by ITVplc up until its perchase by the London based company earlier this year. UTV began life as Ulster Television in 1959. Currently only STV, which operates two ITV channel 3 services for Scotland, remains outside of the London ITVplc control.
“We recognise that this has been an uncertain period for the staff of UTV and UTV Ireland and we have been determined to reach a speedy resolution. We believe that the decision we have made represents an important step forward for the future of the channel.” – Christy Swords, Director, Broadcast Finance & Operations for ITV