ITV is selling UTV Ireland to Virgin Media, which will also take over a ten-year program supply agreement with ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
Christy Swords, the director of broadcast finance and operations at ITV, said: “Launching UTV Ireland last year represented a significant achievement by the teams in Dublin and Belfast in challenging circumstances. ITV took over the business a few months ago and we’ve concluded that bringing TV3 and UTV Ireland together under common ownership offers the best prospect of delivering a strong and sustainable Irish commercial broadcaster, underpinned by a long-term programming agreement with ITV.
“We recognize that this has been an uncertain period for the staff of UTV and UTV Ireland and we have been determined to reach a speedy resolution. We believe that the decision we have made represents an important step forward for the future of the channel.”
The acquisition will not be completed until it is cleared by the regulators, which is expected to take months. Until then, ITV remains the owner of UTV Ireland and is committed to maintaining the service during that time.