Ireland's TV3 has been sold to UPC, which is owned by US cable giant Liberty Global. Liberty Global is owned by Irish-American businessman John Malone.
TV3 was put up for sale by the British private equity group Doughty Hanson, which paid €265 million for the broadcaster in 2006, the Irish Times reports. UPC purchased the business for €80 million, and an additional €7 million will be payable if TV3 reaches certain commercial targets in the future.
“We’re pleased to welcome TV3 to the Liberty Global family,” said UPC Ireland chief executive Magnus Ternsjö.
“The investment we are making today secures the long-term future of TV3. With its wide range of home-grown programming, TV3 holds a unique place in the heart of Irish viewers.”
“We are pleased that our investment in TV3 has come to this successful conclusion. [Chief executive] David McRedmond and his team have ably steered TV3 through the recession and with our support, grown it for five consecutive years. We wish TV3 and Liberty Global every success in the future,” said Doughty Hanson principal Christopher Fielding.
McRedmond said he was “absolutely delighted” about the deal.
“Doughty Hanson have been really great investors and I cannot say enough good things about them. But they were private equity, so they were always going to leave,” he said.
McRedmond added that the new owners will also invest in content and infrastructure.
“It’s not about financial engineering, it’s about growth for the long-term.”
The Liberty Global acquisition is “an expression of confidence in the continuing turnaround in the Irish economy” and an endorsement of TV3’s strategy, said McRedmond.
UPC Ireland, which is part of Virgin Media, Liberty Global’s UK subsidiary, will primarily fund its acquisition of TV3 through its existing financial resources.
For the past two years, the company has been on the acquisition trail in the media and telecoms sector, acquiring a 6.4 percent stake in UK broadcaster ITV plc and becoming co-owner of production group All3Media last year. The company has recently been in talks with Vodafone about potential asset-swaps.