Virgin Media has confirmed it will be selling its TV channels to Sky for up to £160 million in cash.
The companies have entered new carriage agreements which will secure wholesale distribution of Sky’s basic channel line-up, including Sky1 and Sky Arts, and the newly acquired Virgin Media TV (VMtv) channels including Living, Challenge and Bravo, on Virgin’s TV service.
Virgin Media will, for the first time, have the option of carrying any of Sky’s basic HD channels, Sky Sports HD 1 and Sky Sports HD 2, and all Sky Movies HD channels on the service. Sky TV content, including the newly acquired VMtv channels, will also be available on Virgin’s on-demand TV service.
Completion of the agreements is conditional on the companies obtaining merger control clearance in the Republic of Ireland.
Neil Berkett, CEO, Virgin Media, said: “The sale of our channels business has generated substantial value. Together with the new commercial agreements we’ve announced today, it will allow us to focus more closely on our strategy of exploiting Virgin Media’s super-fast connectivity to offer our customers a range of the very best content through a highly versatile next generation entertainment application.”
Jeremy Darroch, CEO, BSkyB, said: “VMtv is an attractive investment opportunity which complements our existing content business and delivers strategic and financial benefits. We are pleased that, through commercial negotiation, we have been able to ensure wide distribution of our channels to a growing pay TV universe.”
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