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Virgin to challenge Competition Commission order on BSkyB's stake in ITV

Virgin to challenge Competition Commission order on BSkyB's stake in ITV

Virgin Media said Monday it will challenge a regulatory order that rival pay-TV operator British Sky Broadcasting PLC reduce its stake in independent broadcaster ITV PLC, arguing the level of the reduction is not enough.
BSkyB has already lodged its own appeal of the Competition Commission ruling that it cut its stake in ITV from 17.9 percent to 7.5 percent, disagreeing with the regulatory body that the shareholding is anticompetitive.
BSkyB bought up a slice of ITV in November 2006, in a move widely perceived to be a blocking strategy to prevent its pay-TV rival NTL Inc. _ now called Virgin Media after a merger with Richard Branson's Virgin Mobile _ from acquiring ITV.
Virgin boss Richard Branson complained bitterly about the maneuver and took the case to market regulators.
"While Virgin Media strongly supports the Competition Commission's conclusions that the acquisition has led to a substantial lessening of competition, it is appealing the Competition Commission's recommendation that a reduction of BSkyB's stake in ITV to 7.5 per cent is adequate to address this problem," Virgin said in a statement on Monday.
Announcing BSkyB's own appeal last week, Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch said the Competition Commission had "built its case on a series of implausible hypotheses and has recommended an arbitrary remedy for a nonexistent problem."
"The reality is that competition in this marketplace is as vigorous as ever _ a merger has not taken place, Sky and ITV are distinct entities with independent strategies and Sky could not block a shareholder resolution without voting rights."


Updated : 2021-03-02 01:12 GMT+08:00