back to article Sky must sell off ITV stake

BSkyB has been told to sell off most of its stake in rival broadcaster ITV. John Hutton, secretary of state for business and enterprise, has told BSkyB to reduce its stake in ITV from 17.9 per cent to below 7.5 per cent. Hutton is following the advice of the Competition Commission which said in December that the cross-ownership …

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Mistake? Depends

If the plan was to gain control of ITV or make oodles of cash then yeah, it's an expensive mistake. If the plan was to block Virgin's takeover of ITV, they succeeded pretty nicely - about 2 days after sky bought the shares the virgin bid was rejected for 'undervaluing the company'

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Linux

Hey Mr Murdoch

HA HA - a blow against Newszilla

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Stop

'bout time

Isn't it about time Sky had a regulator anyway?

All satellite channels are provided by Sky, that makes it a captive market and therefore there is no competition.

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@Gav

Whilst I can see where you're coming from, that could be a pretty hollow victory if Virgin ultimately picks it up cheaper later on.

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On a doorstep near you soon...

"The government decided not to release the timetable for the sale after a request from Sky."

Knowing the government's track record with data, this timetable will soon be available on un-encrypted CD.

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I, for one,

welcome this news about our geostationary overlord.

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Uncompetitive my arrrs

It was done to Block Virgin, and the only reason Sky got pulled up is because Branson threw his toys out of the pram and spoke to his mates in Government, how is Virgin acquiring ownership of ITV more competitive? Sky even said they would remove their voting rights, but it wasn't good enough. Pah!.

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VM as well?

If Sky are not allowed a stake, then nor should Virgin Media (given that is a broadcaster too - well, if you call Vm1 and Vm2 broadcast worthy !).

As a sports fan, I am a little disappointed, as (a long shot) I was hoping that Sky would pull ITV's poor (as in non-existent) interactive sports coverage into the 21st century (I'm talking about F1 coverage mainly.... no interactive 'choose your camera view', no lap times, etc.)

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@James Dunmore

I too dream and drool for the same F1 coverage here in the states. I just wish Max would stop messing with the rules and start whipping broadcasters into shape.

If Sky gets the boot then no commercial entity should get a stake. Whether Virgin, Turner or SCO it doesn't matter. Of course if the government just wants to publicly bitch slap Murdoch then I say dispense with the bullshit and publicly bitch slap him on BBC1. As an opening act may I suggest Jeremy Clarkson getting knocked around by a bunch of soccer moms?

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@ bout time

no, thats not correct.

Satelite channels are carried by astra. Sky package these together, and sell space in the epg. I think there's some laws saying anyone can get into the epg too, but that bit is hazy.

There's also BBC's/itv's freesat coming too.

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Re: 'bout time

Wrong.

Sky DO have a regulator - it is OFCOM who regulate all commercial communication enterprises (tv, radio, mobile phones, etc, etc.) in the UK.

Also, there is nothing stopping anyone other than Sky broadcasting satellite channels in the UK. Don't forget BSB tried and failed - a shame as they were technically far superior to Sky - yet customers weren't prepared to invest.

Where Sky have a monopoly is in how they operate and control their Electronic Programme Guide - who can get listed, positioning of channels, etc. Then again, you could argue that Virgin have exactly the same monopoly of the Virgin Media Electronic Programme Guide.

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Paris Hilton

own goal....

If Virgin hadn't thought of the takeover in the first palce all of this wouldn't have happened.

It's as non competative for Virgin to take over ITV as it is for Sky. The thing is, VM should have known this. So why start a fight they wouldn't win? They were baiting Sky... and they fell for it. notice why reached into their pockets and who didn't ;)

They're not dealibng with Barclay Knapp et al anymore, they're going to actually get a run for their money now....

Paris? Why not, she sucks and so do Sky...

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Re @ bout time

"There's also BBC's/itv's freesat coming too"

But when? March has been widely reported, but that's only a month away. Where is the official start date? The advertising? The hardware reviews?

The original launch was to be early 2006.

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Unhappy

Competition? Sky's got it blocked.

"Also, there is nothing stopping anyone other than Sky broadcasting satellite channels in the UK. Don't forget BSB tried and failed - a shame as they were technically far superior to Sky - yet customers weren't prepared to invest."

Of course, I don't think a competing service would even be able to broadcast all the terrestrial channels - IIRC, Sky have an exclusive contract with Channel 4 and 5 (partly obtained using the leverage of their control over the Sky EPG). They can forget about getting any other decent content - Sky has the cash to buy it all.

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