After previous management quite vocally avoided investing in TV broadcasters for many years, Virgin Media's new parent company, Liberty Global, has forked out a not-inconsiderable £481m for BSkyB's 6.4% stake in ITV.
Liberty Global chief executive Mike Fries said: “This is an opportunistic and attractive investment for us in our largest cable market. ITV is the leading commercial broadcaster in the UK and we’re excited to be shareholders.”
The company said that it does not intend to make an offer to buy ITV outright, but it does reserve the right to do so within the next six months.
I would hope that the HD channel, ITV Encore, doesn't remain a Sky exclusive for too much longer, but knowing how cunning Sky lawyers are I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for it to materialise on your TiVo. Maybe some prime ITV on-demand HD (e.g. Broadchurch, Downton) could appear instead?