UPC buys TV3

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There was some much welcomed good news for the Irish media industry at the start of this month when it was announced that UPC has agreed to buy TV3 for €80m, with a further €7m payable when specific targets are met. The deal should cement TV3’s financial future and will give UPC its’ own channel in Ireland. Liberty Global, the owners of UPC, are one of the planet’s largest international cable companies with a market share of $42bn and interests in 14 countries worldwide. Venture-capitalists Doughty Hanson bought TV3 for €265m in 2006. The plan was to increase the station’s profitability and sell it on within a few years but the recession interfered in the company’s objectives. “We’re pleased to welcome TV3 to the Liberty Global family,” said UPC Ireland chief executive Magnus Ternsjö.“The investment we are making today secures the long-term future of TV3. With its wide range of homegrown programming, TV3 holds a unique place in the heart of Irish viewers.” David McRedmond CEO of TV3 said he was “absolutely delighted” that the deal had been signed, describing it as “the final piece in the jigsaw” in its bid to claw its way out of a harsh media recession and guarantee its future. “Doughty Hanson have been really great investors and I cannot say enough good things about them. But they were private equity, so they were always going to leave,” he said. “It’s not about financial engineering, it’s about growth for the long-term.” TV3 has been further boosted by the strong commercial interest shown in the forthcoming Rugby World Cup, for which it has the exclusive rights in Ireland from mid-September, but revenues are still likely to be down for the year as a whole.