IRELAND’S NEWEST TELEVISION channel UTV Ireland is to be sold to Virgin Media, which also owns rival station TV3.
Virgin Media is paying €10 million for the television station, which was sold to ITV just nine months ago.
The sale, which was announced this evening, will take several months to get the go-ahead from regulators.
In a statement, UTV Ireland’s owners described it as “an important step forward for the future of the channel”.
“Launching UTV Ireland last year represented a significant achievement by the teams in Dublin and Belfast in challenging circumstances,” said Christy Swords, the director of broadcast finance and operations at ITV, which bought UTV Ireland in October.
“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.”
As part of the deal, Virgin Media will also take over a 10-year programme supply agreement with ITV Global Entertainment.
ITV said that it is “committed to maintaining the service” at UTV Ireland while it waits for the deal to go through.
It is not yet known if the deal will result in job losses at UTV Ireland.
“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,” said Swords.
“We believe that the decision we have made represents an important step forward for the future of the channel.”
UTV Ireland was launched in January 2015. It was bought by ITV last year, which also bought UTV’s Northern Ireland-based television service at the same time.
Written by Christine Bohan and posted on TheJournal.ie