BSkyB has formally committed to the sale of a proportion of its holding in ITV plc, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has announced.
The government has accepted formal commitments from the broadcaster that it will now go ahead with the sale in accordance with the terms of the Final Undertakings, which have been previously been consulted upon and agreed by all parties. These include provisions that prevent BSkyB from selling the shares to anyone connected with the company.
It is now anticipated that Sky will sell around 10.4% of its 17.9% stake, taking the holding below the 7.5% level required by the Competition Commission.
The 17.9 % holding in ITV was purchased by BSkyB for £940 million (€1.08 billion) in November 2006, preventing a separate purchase by NTL, ahead of the formation of Virgin Media.
A series of objections and rulings followed culminating in the loss by BSkyB at the Court of Appeal on January 21.
With ITV’s share price having fallen significantly, BSkyB faces losses in the region of £537 million at today’s prices.