Virgin Media and the commercial arm of the BBC currently have a 50/50 stake in UKTV. Scripps Networks Interactive will pay approximately £239 million to purchase Virgin Media’s 50-percent common equity interest in the UKTV partnership and also will pay about £100 million to acquire the outstanding preferred stock and debt owed by UKTV to Virgin Media.
Regulatory approval will be required from the Republic of Ireland and Jersey. Under the terms of the agreement, BBC Worldwide will be given the chance to increase its shareholding to 60%.
John Smith, chief executive, BBC Worldwide, said:
“The launch of UKTV in 1997 created a new secondary platform for content from the BBC and U.K. independents that has delivered great value back to all stakeholders. We thank Virgin Media for the part it has played in developing the business into one of the most successful pay TV companies in the U.K.
“We welcome Scripps Networks Interactive as our new partner and look forward to working with them to open up further avenues to success. The new agreement we are developing will bring benefits to UKTV’s audiences in the way they can consume content and will help to sustain UKTV’s track record of growth. It will create the opportunity to drive further value from digital rights on behalf of our stakeholders, particularly our shareholder, the BBC.”
In a statement, the parties claim that the UKTV collection of channels, which include Dave and GoodFood, receive around 36 million views per month.