UTV’s sale of television business to close by the end of February

Final hurdle in £100m sale to ITV is passed after minister approves deal

The sale was announced  after the company issued a series of profit warnings following the poor performance of its  television channel UTV Ireland

The sale was announced after the company issued a series of profit warnings following the poor performance of its television channel UTV Ireland

 

The sale of UTV’s television business to ITV is expected to be completed by the end of the month after UTV Media received ministerial approval for the deal.

The Belfast-headquartered media group said having won approval for the acquisition from the Minister for Communication Alex White, the sale should close on Monday, February 29th.

The £100 million (€129 million) sale of UTV’s television assets was announced in October. A resolution on the deal was passed with over 99 per cent of shareholders voting in favour of it in early December.

UTV Media is to return up to £55 million (€78 million) to shareholders once the acquisition has concluded.

The group is expecting to receive net cash proceeds of £98 million from the sale after fees are deducted. The proceeds are to be used to pay down some of UTV’s £60.2 million debt with a minimum of £40 million in cash to be returned to shareholders. The company intends to give an additional €15 million as soon as practicable provided that proposed new bank facilities are in place.

Following the sale, which was announced after the company issued a series of profit warnings following the poor performance of its television channel UTV Ireland, the group is to focus on its radio interests, which include TalkSport and six stations in the Republic, and its digital media business.

As ITV is also acquiring the UTV brand, the Belfast-based parent company of the remaining radio and digital interests will adopt a new name once the deal closes.