BSkyB is preparing to reduce its controversial stake in commercial broadcaster ITV to around 10%. On Friday the Competition Commission sent its report to business secretary John Hutton with a recommendation that Sky dispose of part of its stake.
It will be a costly move for the satellite broadcaster that has positioned itself as a “supportive shareholder” in the commercial network. When BSkyB acquired its 17.9% stake in November the holding cost it £940 million, but a continued slide in the value of ITV’s shares leaves its asset valued at around £593m. BSkyB could reduce its losses by placing the holding in a trust and disposing of it over time. ITV’s other shareholders would be grateful for such a move, as it would prevent further falls in the share price.
Mr Hutton has four weeks to give his verdict on the Competition Commission report, though a decision before Christmas is possible.