Virgin Media, Scripps complete UKTV transaction

Editor ©RapidTVNews| 03-10-2011

Scripps Networks Interactive has completed its acquisition of Virgin Media's stake in multi-channel television programming UKTV following regulatory approval in the Republic of Ireland and Jersey.
As reported by Rapid TV News, Scripps now has a 50% common equity interest in the UKTV partnership and the outstanding preferred stock and debt owed by the partnership to Virgin Media. The deal is generally recognised as worth just under £240 million with an additional £100 million for the outstanding preferred stock and debt.

Virgin began the process of the sale of its assets in UKTV in August 2010. At the time Virgin claimed that UKTV had a turnover of £200 million with 36.5 million viewers each month for programmes such as Watch, G.O.L.D., Dave, Alibi, Eden, Blighty, Yesterday, Home, Really and Good Food. UKTV channels also air shows from the BBC in addition to original programming. All of the UKTV channels are available on Sky Digital and Virgin Media. Dave and Yesterday also are available on Freeview.

Scripps and BBC Worldwide are also believed to be currently involved in negotiating an agreement whereby, after completion, BBC Worldwide would have the option, via a combination of cash and a package of digital rights for UKTV, to increase its shareholding from 50% by an extra tenth share. The new owner’s existing voting rights and Board representation would be unaffected by this proposed arrangement, which would be subject to BBC Executive and BBC Trust approvals.