The £100 million sale of UTV’s television assets to ITV plc completed today and UTV and UTV Ireland’s 250 staff became part of ITV’s global television business.
Adam Crozier, Chief Executive of ITV plc, said: “UTV has been a terrific partner to ITV for many years, but from today UTV and UTV Ireland will be a full part of our company and I am delighted to welcome everyone there to the ITV family.
“We recognise the strength of UTV in Northern Ireland, UTV Live is one of the most successful – and highest rating – news programmes in the whole of ITV. We are committed to maintaining and strengthening the news service and UTV’s wider programming output.
“The team has done a great job in establishing UTV Ireland and shaking up the Irish market place in the process. In just over a year on air, the channel is already running second in the market in ratings terms on a regular basis. This is a significant achievement and one we look forward to building upon with the team.
“I’m very pleased that Michael Wilson will remain in place as Managing Director of UTV and UTV Ireland ensuring continuity in leadership and a smooth transition in ownership.”
Michael Wilson, Managing Director of UTV Television, said: “I am very proud to be surrounded by a highly talented and enthusiastic team who work for UTV Television. Their dedication has ensured the success of UTV in this marketplace – UTV Ireland is now reaching more than 2.3 million people every week after just a year on air, and UTV remains by far the most watched channel in Northern Ireland.
“These are significant achievements in a highly competitive market and ITV has the scale and capabilities to build upon the future potential for both UTV channels, maximising audiences across all platforms. Becoming part of the ITV Family is by far the best way to take UTV’s Television business forward with an ongoing focus to provide brilliant television to viewers right across Ireland.”