Virgin Media is expected to begin the sale of its content division within weeks hoping to raise £500m (E567m). The sale would include Virgin’s 50% stake in UKTV the JV with the BBC.
Analysts have speculated Virgin will try again to sell non-core assets as it seeks to pay down debt. Interested parties are thought to include BSkyB, NBC Universal, RTL Group, several private equity groups and the BBC when it comes to the JV where they have preferential rights. The content assets were put up for sale in 2005 but no one bid the £800m then targeted.
Virgin Media operates a content segment through its wholly owned subsidiaries Virgin Media Television and Sit-up TV. Overall, the content division generated revenue of £348m in 2007, posting a pre-tax loss of £6.9m. In 2006, the division generated revenue of £362m, posting a pre-tax profit of £7.2m.