ISLEWORTH, UK: News Corporation's UK satellite broadcasting monopoly BSkyB is reportedly in talks with Bertelsmann-owned RTL Group about the disposal of its controversial 17.9% stake in ITV, the UK's largest commercial broadcaster.
Sky's holding - snatched last November as a spoiling tactic to block a mooted merger between ITV and Virgin Media [WARC News: 20-Nov-06] - is currently the subject of an investigation by the Competition Commission.
Neither Sky (whose appointment of Murdoch scion James as ceo caused much controversy back in November 2003) nor RTL were prepared to comment on the reports, which have been prevalent in financial circles for the past two weeks.
Whether or not the reports are true, without ministerial approval Sky cannot now dispose of its holding until the commission's findings are known. These will be conveyed to the Department of Trade and Industry in November.
But word on media's mean streets is that the issue will be resolved long before the competition watchdog judders to judgement.
Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff