Office of Communications
21 November 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ofcom statement on British Sky Broadcasting Group plc shareholding in ITV plc
21 November 2006
Ofcom has invited ITV plc (ITV) and British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (BSkyB)
to comment on whether BSkyB's acquisition of shares in ITV represents a change
of control of one or more of the licences held by ITV plc.
If Ofcom were to conclude that a change of control had taken place, Ofcom would
then need to review the effects - or likely effects - of such a change of
control on ITV's licensed services; for example, original productions, news and
current affairs programmes and regional programming.
As the sectoral regulator responsible for broadcasting, Ofcom carries out change
of control reviews as one of its duties under the Communications Act 2003.
Ofcom has published guidance on how it will consider a change of control. A
change of control can occur depending on a number of factors. These include: the
level of shareholding acquired; voting rights; the company's constitution and
management controls; and funding arrangements. Ofcom will be seeking submissions
from ITV and BSkyB in order to consider the position. Ofcom will normally aim to
decide whether there has been a change of control within six weeks.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is responsible for considering whether there is
merger for competition purposes. As the sector regulator, Ofcom liaises with the
OFT on its assessment of any merger in the communications sector.
In addition, if there is a merger, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
may choose to ask Ofcom to consider whether there are any broadcasting and
cross-media public interest considerations, including issues of plurality of
ownership. Were such a test to be requested by the Secretary of State, Ofcom
would conduct the relevant enquiries and would then advise the Secretary of
State of any considerations for him to take into account in his deliberations.
Ofcom will provide further updates in due course as and when these are
available. However, in the meantime we cannot comment further.
Further details on Ofcom current guidance on the definition of control of media
companies can be found online at: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/media2
NOTES FOR EDITORS AND CSEs
Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK
communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio,
telecommunications and wireless communications services.
For further details please visit www.ofcom.org.uk.
Ofcom Media Office
(+44) (0)20 7981 3033
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange