Virgin Media moves on sale of UKTV

Virgin Media has put into action the sale of its 50% stake in the profitable broadcaster UKTV as part of its strategy to focus on the core parts of its business, according to reports.

Dave: UKTV channel for sale
Dave: UKTV channel for sale

In July BSkyB completed its purchase of Virgin Media's other content division VMTV for £160m in a deal brokered by the investment banks UBS and Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs is Virgin Media's retained corporate broker.

Both investment banks are believed to be working on the sale of UKTV, a 50:50 joint venture with BBC Worldwide, which Virgin values at a total of about £700m - £350m for its stake.

UKTV operates channels including Dave, Gold, Good Food, Watch, Eden, Blighty and Yesterday.

Virgin Media has said its focus moving forward is telephony, cable services and the distribution of TV content and plans to move away from owning content outright.

In the second quarter of this year, the company received income of £7.1m from UKTV.

A spokesman for Virgin Media said it does not comment on merger and acquisition speculation.

BBC Worldwide and UKTV declined to comment.