ITV, a UK broadcaster, has agreed to sell its stake in TV3, the only privately-owned free-to-air national terrestrial commercial television channel in the Republic of Ireland, to Doughty Hanson, a European private equity firm.
Doughty Hanson has acquired ITV’s 45 percent stake in CanWest Granada Media Holdings, the holding company for the Irish commercial broadcaster, for £70 million (€103 million).
ITV said that it has now almost fulfilled its plan of returning £500 million to shareholders through the disposal of non-core assets such as TV3 and Granada Learning, an educational publishing business, sold to US private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson in a £53 million deal in April.
According to reports in the Irish press in late May, Doughty Hanson beat off competition from Veronis Suhler Stevenson and rival broadcasters Setanta and Ulster Television to acquire TV3.
Launched in September1998, TV3 is the second most-watched channel in the Republic of Ireland after state broadcaster RTE1.
TV3 was the seventh investment from Doughty Hanson’s fourth private equity fund, Doughty Hanson & Co Fund IV, which closed on €1.6 billion in January 2005 and is over 60 percent invested. The fund’s most recent transaction was the purchase of the 20-20 Mobile Group for £347 million as part of a £1.5 billion acquisition of Caudwell Group, a UK mobile phone retailer, alongside Providence Equity Partners.