UTV Ireland to be sold to ITV in 'multi-million pound' deal

UTV Ireland to be sold to ITV in 'multi-million pound' deal

THE sale of North of Ireland broadcaster UTV Media’s television division to ITV will include its UTV Ireland channel, it has been confirmed.

UTV’s decision to sell and become a radio-only business first came to light in August.

Since then, there had been uncertainty over whether the sale would include the struggling Irish channel, which launched in January.

UTV Ireland is expected to lose almost £12million this year.

A UTV spokeswoman confirmed that UTV Ireland will be sold along with the Belfast TV station, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The spokeswoman said: "I can confirm that our TV assets include both UTV and UTV Ireland - talks have always been about the sale of both TV channels."

UTV broadcasts many of the North of Ireland’s most popular shows, with TV personalities Eamonn Holmes and Gloria Hunniford making their names on the channel.

UTV has operated a television station in the North of Ireland since 1959 and has radio businesses in Britain and the Republic of Ireland, including talkSPORT.

The company expanded into television in the Republic in January but it has had little success in finding an audience.

The multi-million pound deal is expected to conclude this week.

It's the latest move by ITV to take over regional broadcasters who hold the Channel 3 licence.