BBC buys ITV’s 50% stake in Britbox International

ITV has sold its 50% shareholding in BritBox International to its joint venture partner BBC Studios for £255m in cash.

Net proceeds of the transaction are estimated at around £235m, including loan repayments, dividends and after tax. ITV is planning to return the funds to shareholders through share buybacks after the release of its full-year results on 7 March.

The commercial broadcaster said that it wanted to focus on “supercharging” its UK advertiser-funded streaming service, ITVX, and growing its global Studios division.

Under the terms of the agreement, ITV Studios will continue to receive an ongoing revenue stream from BritBox International similar to current levels through extended licensing agreements for ITV content.

BritBox UK is unaffected and will still feature BBC content as part of separate long-term agreements.

“We are taking full ownership of a successful, growing service we know well and that fits with our stated ambition to double the size of our business,” commented Tom Fussell, chief executive of BBC Studios.

“BritBox International has British content at its heart and it generates and satisfies demand for British shows outside the UK.

“We will continue to make significant investments in the future to deliver long-term value to the BBC.”