Manchester United Buys Sky's Stake In MUTV, Owns Channel Outright
ManU has bought BSkyB's one-third stake of in-house TV station MUTV as part of its "long-term digital media plans," according to Jamie Jackson of the London GUARDIAN. ManU Commercial Dir Richard Arnold said: "The acquisition of Sky's stake is great news for all of our fans who watch us around the globe, MUTV, its staff and the club." A press release said, "As part of its long-term digital media plans, Manchester United has made the strategic acquisition of Sky's stake in MUTV in order to own 100% of the content production and distribution capabilities of this business" (GUARDIAN, 1/22). REUTERS' Keith Weir reported MUTV was set up as a three-way joint venture in '98 between the club, BSkyB and commercial broadcaster ITV. ManU acquired ITV's stake in '07 and said that the latest deal "would allow it control over content and distribution of a channel available in 57 countries." Financial terms were not disclosed (REUTERS, 1/22).
IMPRESSING U.S. INVESTORS: The MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS reported the deal was valued at more than £5M ($7.93M) and is part of ManU's "strategy to boost commercial revenues and grow its global fan base." The club has "no plans to change the channel’s subscription model or to make a play to secure the broadcast rights for its own games in the future." Instead, ManU is "eager to demonstrate to U.S. investors its commitment to driving up commercial revenues by widening its worldwide fan base." Manchester-based investment bank Altium CEO Phil Adams said, "The one thing we are hearing is that the United board is being quizzed a lot by investors about the commercial side of the business and what it is doing on the media side of things. When it comes to American investors, they are a lot more interested in the bottom line, as opposed to pure on-the-pitch performance" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 1/22).