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Sky will fight to keep ITV stake

Legal challenge to competition claims

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Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB will take legal action to challenge the recent ruling that it should sell off its stake in rival broadcaster ITV.

The Competition Commission, backed by secretary of state for business and enterprise John Hutton, ruled in January that Sky should sell its 17.9 per cent stake in ITV.

The regulator took the view that the investment would lessen competition between the two.

But BSkyB will go to the Competition Appeal Tribunal tomorrow (Friday 22 February) with an application to send the issue back to the Competition Commission.

Sky will argue that the commission made mistakes in its first decision - firstly in finding that Sky and ITV had merged, and secondly that Sky's stake prevents ITV from competing with it.

The broadcaster will argue that even if the decision is upheld, forcing it to sell its stake in ITV is still an "unreasonable and disproportionate remedy", especially as Sky offered to forego voting rights in order to meet the Competition Commission's concerns. ®

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