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BSkyB agrees to sell part of ITV stake

After a very expensive two-year legal battle BSkyB has finally agreed to sell around 10% of the company's near 18% stake in ITV. The situation can be traced back to the Competition Commission ruling back in 2008 which concluded that BSkyB could have undue influence over ITV it was able to maintain its 17.9% stake. The overall state stake is now running at a loss of £330 million and has been nothing short of disastrous for BSkyB.

It is believed that a placing of the shares in question could begin as early as tomorrow morning with investment bank Morgan Stanley said to be leading the program. It will be interesting to see if any large chunks of shares are acquired by individual companies in the media arena or else pension funds and investment funds spread the total stake between themselves.

The formal agreement to sell the stake would allow BSkyB to draw a line under this particular saga which has dogged the company for some years now. Initially there were rumours of a potential merger of the two operations although BSkyB has always maintained the shares were required as an investment and nothing else. The performance of ITV since the BSkyB share stake was acquired has being disastrous, something which is reflected in the value of the shares.

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