Liberty Global, the parent company of Virgin Media, says it has no plans to takeover ITV after buying a 6.4% stake in the broadcaster.
The shares were bought from BSkyB which took a 17.9% stake in the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster in 2006 in order to block a mooted takeover by NTL, which later merged with Telewest to create Virgin Media.
BSkyB was later ordered to sell 11% of its shares after competition concerns were raised.
Today’s £481million sale still leaves Sky holding around 0.8% of ITV’s shares which it is expected to sell at a later date.
Mike Fries, Liberty Global’s Chief Executive Officer, commented “This is an opportunistic and attractive investment for us in our largest cable market. ITV is the leading commercial broadcaster in the U.K. and we’re excited to be shareholders.”
Liberty says it “does not intend to make an offer to acquire ITV” but has reserved the right under the UK’s takeover and mergers laws to do so within the next six months.