ITV, Britain’s biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, said it had agreed to buy the TV business of Northern Irish network partner UTV for £100m in cash.
The deal will put 13 of 15 channel 3 licences in the hands of ITV, and the company said the combined business would benefit from ITV’s investment in content, its advertising sales team and broadcast infrastructure.
UTV will retain its radio businesses UTV Radio GB and UTV Radio Ireland, and its digital media businesses, Simply Zesty and Tibus Digital.
“We have a long-standing relationship with UTV, which has been the leading commercial broadcaster in Northern Ireland for many years thanks to its strong regional identity and blend of excellent local programming and strong network shows,” said ITV chief executive Adam Crozier.
“UTV Television’s strategic objectives are closely aligned with our own and we are very pleased that they are joining the ITV family. We are looking forward to working with the team going forward.”