TV3 Group, Ireland’s leading commercial television broadcaster, has confirmed that its shareholder Doughty Hanson has agreed terms for its sale to UPC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Global plc and Ireland’s leading connected entertainment provider that offers over one million television, broadband and phone subscriptions to nearly 512,000 customers.
Liberty Global is the largest international cable company with a market cap of over $42 billion and operations in 14 countries.
TV3 operates two free-to-air channels, the flagship TV3 and the youth-oriented 3e. In addition, it has TV3+1 on UPC and SKY, and 3PLAYER the most widely distributed Video-on-Demand platform in the country. TV3 is the number one channel in Ireland after public broadcaster RTÉ1, and TV3 Group has an audience share of 12%. In 2014, the Group achieved its best set of operating results since 2008.
This year, TV3 launched a new schedule which marked the acceleration of originated programming replacing foreign acquisitions. In January, it successfully launched a new soap Red Rock which has been viewed by 2.3m people. In May, six of TV3’s top ten programmes were home-produced. TV3 broadcasts some of Ireland’s most established programmes including Ireland AM, News at 5.30, Great Irish Bake-Off, the top entertainment brand Xposé, and the leading daily current affairs show Tonight with Vincent Browne. The focus on originated content follows the opening in 2013 of the TV3 HD studio, Ireland’s largest TV studio and one of the most technologically advanced in the country.
This Autumn, TV3 has the exclusive rights to the Rugby World Cup 2015. TV3 also has a host of exclusive premium acquisitions including UEFA Champions’ League, Big Brother and X-Factor.
David McRedmond, CEO of TV3, said: “TV3 has secured an excellent long-term owner, which will help us to take advantage of the opportunities we see in Ireland and internationally. TV3’s employees have transformed the company from an old-model channel reliant on foreign programming into a contemporary media company originating its own content distributed across multiple platforms. This deal is a great endorsement of TV3’s strategy and team by a leading global company, and is also an expression of confidence in the continuing turnaround in the Irish economy. I want to acknowledge the support and leadership from our current investors Doughty Hanson which guided TV3 through the most difficult recession.”
Magnus Ternsjö, CEO of UPC Ireland said: “We’re pleased to welcome TV3 to the Liberty Global family. The investment we are making today secures the long-term future of TV3 Group. With its wide range of home-grown programming, TV3 holds a unique place in the heart of Irish viewers. This is a terrific addition to the TV service we offer – which is already the best in Ireland.”
Christopher Fielding, a principal at Doughty Hanson, said: “We are pleased that our investment in TV3 has come to this successful conclusion. David McRedmond and his team have ably steered TV3 through the recession and with our support grown it for five consecutive years. We wish TV3 and Liberty Global every success in the future.”
TV3 is the most watched channel in Ireland after RTÉ1. The Group also includes 3e which was acquired (as Channel 6) in 2008, 3PLAYER which was launched in 2010 and TV3+1 launched earlier in 2015.