ITV's £100m deal to buy UTV’s television assets has finally been completed.
UTV and UTV Ireland’s 250 staff are now part of ITV’s global television business, while managing director Michael Wilson will remain at the helm of the Ireland business.
The company’s television division was sold in October in a £100m transaction, in a deal first revealed by the Belfast Telegraph in August.
Adam Crozier, chief executive of ITV said UTV has been a “terrific partner to ITV for many years” but as of yesterday becomes a “full part of our company and I am delighted to welcome everyone there to the ITV family”.
“We recognise the strength of UTV in Northern Ireland, UTV Live is one of the most successful – and highest rating news programmes in the whole of ITV.”
Mr Crozier said ITV is “committed to maintaining and strengthening the news service and UTV’s wider programming output”.
“The team has done a great job in establishing UTV Ireland and shaking up the Irish market place in the process. In just over a year on air, the channel is already running second in the market in ratings terms on a regular basis.
“This is a significant achievement and one we look forward to building upon with the team.”
Last week, media man Paul Smith — the man behind Who Wants to be a Millionaire — described UTV’s sale of its television business to ITV as “inevitable” in light of the failure of its UTV Ireland business.
Michael Wilson, managing director of UTV Television said he was “very proud to be surrounded by a highly talented and enthusiastic team”.
“These are significant achievements in a highly competitive market and ITV has the scale and capabilities to build upon the future potential for both UTV channels, maximising audiences across all platforms.
“Becoming part of the ITV family is by far the best way to take UTV’s Television business forward with an ongoing focus to provide brilliant television to viewers right across Ireland.”
Addressing the Culture, Arts and Leisure committee at UTV’s Belfast headquarters at Havelock House last month, Mr Wilson said some of UTV’s operations could be moved to England after a takeover.
He was quizzed on areas including potential job losses, local sports coverage and whether some company functions such as IT and HR could move elsewhere following the takeover.