ITV, UTV, he/she/it TVs: ITV to buy Northern Irish channels for £100m

Jessica Morris
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ITV has a long-standing relationship with UTV (Source: Getty)

British broadcaster ITV has snapped up the TV business of the leading commercial broadcaster in Northern Ireland, UTV, for £100m.

The deal means that STV in Scotland is the only remaining independent ITV regional broadcaster.

It will put 13 of 15 channel 3 licences in the hands of ITV, and the company said the combined business would benefit from ITV's investment in content, its advertising sales team and broadcast infrastructure.

But UTV will be left with a sizeable radio operation, retaining its radio businesses UTV Radio GB and UTV Radio Ireland. The company will also keep its digital media businesses, Simply Zesty and Tibus Digital.

"We have a long-standing relationship with UTV, which has been the leading commercial broadcaster in Northern Ireland for many years thanks to its strong regional identity and blend of excellent local programming and strong network shows," ITV chief executive, Adam Crozier, said.

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"UTV Television's strategic objectives are closely aligned with our own and we are very pleased that they are joining the ITV family. We are looking forward to working with the team."

John McCann, chief executive of UTV Media, added: "Becoming part of the ITV Family is by far the best way to take UTV's Television business forward with an ongoing focus to provide brilliant television to viewers right across Ireland."

UTV is expected to make a loss of £11.5m in the full year 2015.

Shares in the company popped 3.2 per cent to 179.00p per share at the open.

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