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Liberty’s UPC buys TV3 for €80m

Liberty Global subsidiary UPC Ireland has agreed to buy Irish commercial broadcaster TV3 for a purchase price of €80 million (US$88.4 million).

UPC Ireland agreed the deal with the privately owned channel’s parent company, Doughty Hanson, and said it will substantially fund the deal through “existing liquidity”.

TV3 operates two free-to-air channels – flagship network TV3 and the youth-oriented 3e – along with a time-shifted TV3+1 feed on UPC and Sky. It also owns video-on-demand platform 3Player.

On completion, TV3 and its assets will become part of Liberty Global, with UPC to pay an additional €7 million on top of the €80 million deal price if TV3 hits certain targets.

Commenting on the agreement, UPC Ireland CEO Magnus Ternsjö said that the investment “secures the long-term future of TV3”.

“With its wide range of home-grown programming, TV3 holds a unique place in the heart of Irish viewers. This is a terrific addition to the TV service we offer, which is already the best in Ireland,” he added.

Christopher Fielding, a principal at Doughty Hanson said: “[TV3 CEO] David McRedmond and his team have ably steered TV3 through the recession and with our support, grown it for five consecutive years. We wish TV3 and Liberty Global every success in the future.”

The deal is subject to regulatory approval from Ireland’s Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and is expected to be cleared “in the coming months”.

John Malone-controlled Liberty Global was first reported to have been interested in acquiring TV3 last month, with the Irish Times reporting that it was conducting due diligence on the business.

UPC Ireland became part of Liberty Global’s UK subsidiary, Virgin Media, in December 2014 and offers digital TV, high speed broadband and phone services in Ireland.