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BSkyB places 10.4% stake in ITV

As expected, BSkyB has today confirmed the placing of 404.4 million shares in ITV at a price of 48.5p each. This now brings the company's shareholding in ITV down to 7.5%, a figure which the Competition Commission is happy with, although it does crystallise a £348 million loss on the 10.4% share sale. The company has confirmed that the residual 7.5% stake will be held in the medium term for investment purposes although there is speculation about whether the company will bail out completely fairly soon.

This brings to a close a two-year saga which saw the Competition Commission rule that BSkyB could have been due influence over ITV due to the size of the share stake. The ruling by the Competition Commission prompted a two year legal battle which ultimately ended last week when the company lost what many saw as its final chance of victory at appeal. While there were other options open to BSkyB with regard to legal action the company finally threw in the towel late last week and confirmed plans to reduce its share stake.

It will be interesting to see whether any third parties approach ITV about a potential merger or takeover as the company has been struggling for some time amid falling advertising revenue.

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