BSkyB wins ITV challenge hearing

The Court of Appeal has given BSkyB permission to challenge the Competition Commission ruling that it should sell down the majority of its 17.9% holding in ITV plc.

In December 2008 the Competition Appeal Tribunal rejected an appeal from BSkyB against the reduction of its controversial holding in the commercial broadcaster.

However, BSkyB was able to directly approach the Court of Appeal, which will hear the case in the next few months. The delay will give further uncertainty to the troubled commercial broadcaster that has seen its shares fall from the 135p per share paid by BSkyB in late 2006 to 21p today. BSkyB has already been forced to write down its investment to the tune of 700 million.

The Competition Commission had ruled that Sky reduce its stake in the broadcaster to below 7.5%. Sky has maintained the acquisition of the stake in ITV was made purely as an investment and that it remains a supportive shareholder.