Sky must sell most of its stake in ITV, says Court of Appeal

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BSkyB has been ordered to substantially reduce its holding in rival broadcaster ITV today by the Court of Appeal

Sky will be forced to reduce its 17.9 per cent stake in ITV to below 7.5 per cent by the court ruling, bringing to an end a two-and-a-half year battle over its controversial holding.

Sky bought its stake in ITV for £940m in November, 2006. The move was widely seen as a way to block NTL, now Virgin Media, from launching a takeover bid for ITV.

The Competition Commission then ruled in December 2007 that Sky’s holding “may be expected to operate against the public interest”.

The ruling was upheld by then business secretary John Denham and in September 2008 by the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

The Court of Appeal has told the satellite broadcaster it must reduce its stake leaving the broadcaster facing a potential loss of £500m – the court also denied the company permission to appeal to the Supreme Court on a potential alternative remedy – however Sky can still directly apply to that court.

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