BSkyB Begins Defense of ITV Stake

This week, British Sky Broadcasting started to present its defense for taking a 17.9 percent stake in U.K. broadcaster ITV, a controversial move that has rankled competitors and regulators.

The U.K./Irish satellite TV powerhouse, controlled by News Corp., has made its formal presentations on the deal before the Competition Appeal Tribunal for the United Kingdom. Also present were representatives from the U.K. Competition Commission, which made the suggestion that BSkyB cut its investment in ITV in December. The regulator suggested that Sky pare its ownership to about 7.5 percent.

In its arguments, BSkyB said its stake in ITV did not give it "material influence" over the broadcaster's operations, stated news reports.

Also expected at the proceedings is Virgin Media, the cable operator competing directly with BSkyB. It's reported that the company could tell the tribunal that Sky taking its stake to 7.5 percent is not enough to alleviate competitive concerns.