Jul 3 2015
Liberty Global has acquired Irish free-to-air broadcaster TV3 for €80m (£57m) from private equity company Doughty Hanson.
The deal is the latest high-profile acquisition from the John Malone-backed company, which acquired cable operator Virgin Media in June 2013 and a 6.4% stake in ITV in July 2014.
Liberty Global already operates a major cable service in the country in the shape of UPC Ireland, which has more 387,000 TV subscribers.
TV3 is the largest commercial broadcaster in Ireland and airs series including new Company Pictures soap Red Rock and local versions of British formats such as Gogglebox and Bake Off.
The broadcaster has been increasingly working with UK indies, commissioning Irish series such as Oysters from Blinging Up Baby indie Alaska and Cork: Ireland’s Mega Port from Goldhawk Media.
Until earlier this summer its director of content was former Channel 5 programming boss Jeff Ford, who moved to run Fox in the UK. Former CBBC exec Lynda McQuaid replaced Ford.
The channel has the rights to the forthcoming Rugby World Cup and Champions League and operates two free-to-air stations – TV3 and youth skewing 3e – as well as video-on-demand service 3Player.
UPC Ireland chief executive Magnus Ternsjö said: “The investment we are making today secures the long-term future of TV3 Group. With its wide range of home-grown programming, TV3 holds a unique place in the heart of Irish viewers. This is a terrific addition to the TV service we offer – which is already the best in Ireland.”
TV3 chief executive David McRedmond added: “TV3 has secured an excellent long-term owner, which will help us to take advantage of the opportunities we see in Ireland and internationally.
“TV3’s employees have transformed the company from an old-model channel reliant on foreign programming into a contemporary media company originating its own content distributed across multiple platforms.
“This deal is a great endorsement of TV3’s strategy and team by a leading global company, and is also an expression of confidence in the continuing turnaround in the Irish economy.”
Liberty Global could make an additional payment of up to €7m (£5m) based on TV3 hitting performance targets.