Virgin Media admits it might sell UKTV stake

Virgin Media’s CEO Neil Berkett has made it clear that the cable operator could sell its 50% stake in UKTV, the joint-venture channels business it owns with BBC Worldwide.

Despite rumours that the cabler might be prepared to sell its UKTV stake, the company has never publicly admitted it. However, in an interview with the Guardian, Berkett said the company did not consider the stake as a strategic investment and as such it would “look at it from time to time”. He added that if there was a means of profiting from divesting the stake, the company would consider it.

Virgin Media values its 50% holding in UKTV at £351m (€421m), including outstanding loans of £116m. It sold its stake in its other channels business VMtv to rival pay-TV operator BSkyB for £106m earlier this month but Berkett said the circumstances differed to those of UKTV. VMtv, he said, was potentially distracting Virgin Media from its “strategic aims”, which is not the case with UKTV, he added.