Liberty Global Raises Stake in ITV

But Cable Giant Says No Takeover Plans For British Broadcaster
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Liberty Global has purchased 138.7 million shares in ITV plc, increasing its stake in Britain’s largest free-to-air commercial broadcaster to 9.9% of its outstanding shares, but assured regulators that it has no plans to take over the company.

Liberty first bought a 6.4% interest in ITV in July 2014 for $822.4 million. Months later it said it had no intention to build on that stake. Liberty Global apparently changed its mind.

 “Given ITV's operating and stock price performance, we were able to increase our stake to 9.9% with no incremental investment by hedging our existing equity position,” said Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries in a statement. “This investment remains an opportunistic one for us in our largest market. ITV is a well-run company with attractive growth potential, and we are pleased to increase our position as their largest shareholder.”

Liberty Global confirmed that it does not intend to make an offer to acquire ITV, but said that in compliance with U.K. regulations, it “reserves the right to announce an offer or possible offer or make or participate in an offer or possible offer for ITV,” and that any plans to do so would be announced within the next six months.

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