Bloomberg News

BSkyB’s Application to Appeal Ruling on ITV Stake Is Denied

December 05, 2008

British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSY), the U.K.’s biggest pay-television provider, was denied permission to appeal a ruling that would force it to sell a stake in broadcaster ITV Plc. (ITV)

The Competition Appeal Tribunal doesn’t “consider that an appeal would have any real prospect of success,” according to a ruling dated Dec. 4 published on its Web site today.

On Sept. 29, the Competition Appeal Tribunal said BSkyB must cut its ITV holding to less than 7.5 percent from 17.9 percent, upholding a decision by the Competition Commission in December. BSkyB’s stake has lost 73 percent in value since the purchase in 2006 for 135 pence a share, or a total of 940 million pounds ($1.4 billion). The stake is now worth 250 million pounds.

BSkyB, controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., can still apply for permission to appeal within 14 days, according to today’s ruling. Isleworth-England based BSkyB said Nov. 28 it had asked to be allowed to appeal the case.

BSkyB may try to put off a sale for as long as possible because ITV’s stock has slumped amid the economic slowdown, analysts and competition lawyers have said. By buying the stake, BSkyB thwarted plans by cable-TV provider Virgin Media Inc. (VMED:US) to buy the broadcaster.

A call to a BSkyB spokesman after office hours wasn’t immediately answered.

To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Thiel in London at sthiel1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net


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