BSkyB to appeal direct

BSkyB was on Nov 5 formally refused leave to appeal by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) over its decision to force Sky to sell down its 17.9% stake in commercial broadcaster ITV. The CAT is a powerful body but Sky, as expected, will now take its battle to the higher Court of Appeal.

Sky has frequently said it wishes to stay a long-term investor in ITV. "BSkyB intends to submit an application to the Court of Appeal requesting permission to appeal the CAT's judgment regarding Sky's minority investment in ITV plc," it said in a statement. Back in September the CAT ruled that Sky must divest the bulk of its 17.9% holding to below 7.5%.

The CAT in its refusal to allow an appeal says that none of Sky’s proposed grounds for appeal has any real prospect of success.

Sky’s decision puts the whole argument well into the long grass, and well into 2009 for any legal hearings.