UK Business secretary John Hutton is expected to announce imminently whether he accepts the ruling of the Competition Commission that Rupert Murdoch’s pay-TV company must reduce its 17.9 per cent stake in ITV to below 7.5 per cent.
It is anticipated it will insist on some sale. ITV’s share price has tumbled since Sky bought the shares. In recent weeks, ITV shares have languished at all-time lows, with part of the pressure stemming from uncertainty over Sky’s stake. They closed on Friday at 72.9p, (E1) compared with the 135p a share that Sky paid, at which level it is sitting on a £430m loss. However if Hutton’s decision goes against them, Sky will probably go to court for a ruling.