Virgin sells UKTV stake to Scripps for £239m

City A.M. Reporter
Virgin Media has sold its 50 per cent stake in UKTV, home to 10 channels including Dave and GOLD, to Scripps Networks for £239m as part of its strategy to move away from content production.

Scripps, which will also pay about £100m to acquire the outstanding preferred stock and debt owed by UKTV to Virgin Media, said the deal would support its strategy of international expansion in key markets.

"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," said Kenneth W. Lowe, chief executive of Scripps Networks Interactive.

UKTV was formed in 1997 and attracts about 36 million viewers a month across its portfolio of 10 lifestyle, entertainment and non-fiction programming channels. The other 50 per cent is held by BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the public broadcaster.

For Virgin Media, the deal fits with its strategy of focussing more on providing high speed broadband and technology to access content, instead of producing the content themselves