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Monday 08 February, 2010

Dept Bus InnovSkills

Sky gives undertaking to sell

RNS Number : 8436G
Dept for Business Innovation&Skills
08 February 2010

Sky gives undertaking to sell ITV shares

The Government has today accepted formal commitments from Sky (British Sky Broadcasting Group plc) that it will divest a proportion of its shares in ITV.

The text of the Final Undertakings has previously been consulted upon and agreed by all parties.

Sky must now take action in accordance with the terms of the Final Undertakings, which include provisions precluding Sky from selling the shares to any person connected with Sky.

Notes to editors                                                                                                                               

1.      The text of the Final Undertakings, and other documents published in relation to this case, can be
found on the BIS website at:

2.      On 17 November 2006, Sky announced it had acquired 696 million shares, representing 17.9 per cent of ITV shares.  On 26 February 2007, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry issued an intervention notice to the OFT under the Enterprise Act 2002, stating he believed it was, or could be, the case that the Act's public interest consideration was relevant to this transaction.  The Secretary of State also asked Ofcom to prepare an initial report on possible public interest issues.

3.      On 24 May 2007, having considered the OFT and Ofcom reports, and other representations, the Secretary of State announced his decision to refer the acquisition to the Competition Commission for investigation.  The Secretary of State received the final investigation report on 14 December 2007.  This was published on 20 December 2007. 

4.      On 29 January 2008 the Secretary of State for Business and Enterprise announced his decision to make an adverse public interest finding and to adopt the remedies recommended by the Competition Commission.  These included partial divestiture of Sky's shares in ITV to a level below 7.5 per cent within a specified period. 

5.      On 22 February 2008, Sky appealed to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) for a review of both the Secretary of State and Competition Commission decisions.  An oral hearing took place in June 2008.  The CAT handed down its judgement on 29 September 2008 and Sky subsequently applied for permission to appeal the judgement.  On 4 December 2008, the CAT issued a ruling refusing Sky's request.  On 18 December 2008, Sky submitted a renewed application for permission to appeal direct to the Court of Appeal.  The Court accepted Sky's application and an oral hearing took place between 28 and 30 October 2009.  The Court's judgment was handed down on 21 January 2010 rejecting Sky's applications as they related to the remedies imposed in this case. 

6.    The draft text of the Final Undertakings was originally published for consultation in January 2009.  Having received a number of comments on the draft undertakings, BIS subsequently published for consultation a number of proposed modifications to the text.  Those modifications have been incorporated into the final text of the Final Undertakings which have now been accepted by Sky.


For more information, please contact the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills press office on 0207 215 3496.



Department for Business, Innovation & Skills


The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


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