The Competition Commission has made public its recommendations on BSkyB’s 17.9% stake in ITV. The Commission says that BSkyB should be forced to cut its stake in the commercial broadcaster to below 7.5% and not take a seat on the ITV board. The ruling could lose BSkyB up to £200 million on the purchase, made last November for £940 million, though the City view is that Sky will have succeeded in preventing any rival from building a stake in ITV.
The Commission said the holding would allow BSkyB to influence the activities of ITV. However, it dismissed claims that BSkyB’s involvement could dilute the number of news services in the UK market.
When BSkyB purchased its stake last November it thwarted a bid for the commercial broadcaster from Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Media. However, BSkyB has maintained the holding was always a strategic investment and said it was a supportive shareholder.
The report has been passed to the business secretary John Hutton, who has until January 29 to make his decision.