BSkyB can appeal ITV share ruling

23 March 2009

LONDON: BSkyB, the UK satellite services provider, has been given the right to appeal a decision forcing it to sell the majority of its 17.9% stake in ITV, the country's largest commercial broadcaster.

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the News Corp-owned company can appeal the decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal which stated that it must reduce its holding in ITV to beneath 7.5%.

While the Competition Appeal Tribunal stated that by becoming ITV's largest shareholder, BSkyB's position was effectively anti-competitive, the company argued its interest in its commercial counterpart was as a long-term investment.

BSkyB has already written down the value of £699 million ($1.0bn; €744m) of the total of £940m it sunk into ITV in 2006, as a result of the latter's falling share price as UK TV ad revenues decline.

The BBC, the British publicly-funded broadcaster, also needs to make savings of nearly £400m on its current operations if it is to stay within its legal borrowing limits, according to the Corporation's director general, Mark Thompson.

Thompson said the areas in which finances would be tightened include pay increases for senior managers, and the discretionary bonuses previously offered to the organisation's “top talent".

Among the other initiatives to be promoted by the BBC are to take "tangible, measurable steps to partner, support and share some of its advantages with other media players."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff