itvThe Competition Appeal Tribunal has reaffirmed the decisions of the Competition Commission and business secretary John Hutton that will force Sky to reduce its 17.9% stake in ITV to under 7.5%.
In a further move that may result in Sky having to sell its entire stake in the broadcaster, the tribunal also upheld part of a separate appeal made by Virgin Media, which – long in favour of Sky selling the stake completely – argued that the Competition Commission failed to take into account rules pertaining to media ownership plurality when it made its original decision known.

Hearings will be convened to examine the issue next month. The tribunal has powers to insist that the Commission and potentially Hutton reevaluate the original decision with a view to reducing the stake further – or entirely.
It is understood that Sky may launch another appeal against the decision. The convening of hearings related to the Virgin Media appeal will mean that Sky does not need to sell part of its stake at present; however, speculation as to who may purchase it if it does become available has already started. Sky’s acquisition of the stake in November 2006 came about after ITV confirmed it was in merger talks with NTL Telewest, now known as Virgin Media.

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By Expat