BSkyB has lost another stage in its battle to hold on to a controversial 17.9% stake in ITV. The pay-TV satellite broadcaster, which acquired the ITV stake for £940m in November 2006, lodged an application with the Competition Appeal Tribunal at the end of November, for leave to appeal an order to sellits stake to less than 7.5%.
On 4 December the Tribunal refused the appeal on the grounds that the appeal had no real prospect of success and there were no other compelling reasons to allow it to go forward.
Writing in the Financial Times on 5 December, Ben Fenton, the paper’s chief media editor stated that; ‘Some observers believe that BSkyB wants to extend the process in the hope of a recovery in ITV share price or the appearance of someone keen to buy the whole of the commercial broadcaster, using the 17.9 per cent stake as a springboard.
One person familiar with the situation said that BSkyB could request a full hearing of its appeal with the higher court if it was turned down without one.’