UTV confirms sale of its TV stations to ITV

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UTV media has confirmed it has entered a £100m (€136m) agreement to sell its TV assets, including UTV Ireland and UTV Northern Ireland, to ITV.

The company, which also says it intends to stop using the name 'UTV' says the proceeds will fully clear its bank debts and enable some distribution to shareholders.

UTV Ireland has struggled to gain a foothold in Ireland's competitive TV market, and has reported a first half loss of €10.2m for 2015 - this strengthened ITV bargaining position during the negotiations.

While it will give up its TV assets - UTV will retain its radio properties which include Q102, FM 104 and Galway Bay FM. It also still owns the digital companies, Simply Zesty and Tibus Digital.

Richard Huntingford, chairman of UTV commented on the deal: "The last few years have seen increasing consolidation in the global television sector, creating media companies that span content, broadcast and platform ownership.

"Having successfully extended the reach of our television business with the launch of UTV Ireland, I believe that shareholder value can be maximised through our television interests becoming part of ITV’s global broadcast and content business."

He added that he believes that ITV has the resources and scale to help the stations in Ireland and Northern Ireland to continue to grow.

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