The £100m acquisition of UTV’s TV business by ITV has been completed and UTV’s 250 staff transferred over to ITV.
Adam Crozier, Chief Executive of ITV plc, said: “UTV has been a terrific partner to ITV for many years, but from today UTV and UTV Ireland will be 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. We are 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.”
It was also announced that Michael Wilson will remain in place as managing director of UTV and UTV Ireland although station head, Mary Curtis, has since left the company.
ITV also published details of its 2015 accounts this week and these showed that revenues grew by 14% during the year to £3.83 billion. Around £2.14 billion of this was attributable to broadcast and online revenue while the remainder, £1.23 billion, was derived from its ITV studios division. Pre-tax profits, meanwhile, amounted to £641m.
Meanwhile, UTV has since been renamed as Wireless Group following the sale of its TV business. Some £55m of the proceeds of the sale will be returned to shareholders in two tranches. The group will now re-focus on its radio interests in Ireland and the UK.
The CEO of the group, John McCann, will also retire from the company in May. Mr McCann joined UTV as financial controller in 1983 and was appointed chief executive in 1999.