UK pay-TV provider BSkyB has divested the 10.4% stake in commercial broadcaster ITV that it was obliged to sell by the Court of Appeal in a placement with Morgan Stanley Securities.
Sky has placed 404,362,095 shares with Morgan Stanley Securities at a price of 48.5p a share, slightly below ITVs closing share price before the announcement, giving it Â£196m (Â224m). The pay-TV operator said it would retain the residual 7.5% stake in ITV in the medium term and said it remained Âa committed shareholder of ITVÂ.
The sale, which results in a loss of about Â£350m to the operator, brings to an end SkyÂs two year-long struggle to retain its stake in ITV. Sky decided not to exercise its option to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.
Sky acquired a 17.9% stake in ITV in 2006 for Â£940m, representing 135p a share, a move that was widely seen as designed to prevent a merger between cable operator NTL (now Virgin Media) and the commercial broadcaster.
Sky has already written down the value of the stake in anticipation of a forced sale.
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