Arqiva has bought National Grid Wireless (NGW), bringing together the privatised transmission arms of both the former IBA and the BBC, in a deal worth £2.5 billion (€3.69 billion).
NGW, headquartered in Warwick, comprises a national communications infrastructure network that provides broadcast transmission services for BBC television and radio, hosts wireless sites for major mobile network operators and owns and operates two Freeview digital TV multiplexes. Arqiva had already been selected by the BBC as the preferred supplier of its distribution network and managed transmission service for digital terrestrial television in the UK.
Arqiva CEO Tom Bennie, stressed the importance of having a single operator. “Having a single broadcast transmission service provider brings the UK into line with most of the rest of the world. The UK’s terrestrial broadcast transmission network will be in a much better position to ensure that terrestrial broadcasting remains a powerful and innovative service in the future.”
The transaction will be subject to a review by the UK competition authorities. Arqiva expects that during the review process NGW will likely be subject to a “Hold Separate” arrangement, so both businesses will remain discrete entities for at least a year. It is the latest acquisition by Arqiva, which only this week completed the purchase of BT’s satellite operations.
Arqiva is controlled by Australian investment company Macquarie UK Broadcast Ventures Limited.