Advanced Television

BSkyB ITV appeal – they should sell more

October 1, 2008

In more bad news for BSkyB, the company may have to sell even more of its stake in ITV than it was expecting after the Competition Appeal said an original antitrust ruling may not have been tough enough.With ITV's share price at record lows this would crystallize yet more losses on the deal for BSkyB. The sell-off, which will send values even lower, may even prompt a new bidder for ITV.The hearing followed a ruling last December by the Competition Commission, which told BSkyB to sell its stake in ITV down to below 7.5 per cent. The tribunal on Monday dismissed BSkyB's appeal but supported an argument from its rival Virgin Media that the Commission had been too lenient.Lawyers said the ruling held out the prospect of a tougher approach to mergers in the broadcast media sector after the tribunal said the Commission had misinterpreted the importance of plurality in media ownership.

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