ITV sells Britbox to BBC, plans share buyback

British broadcaster ITV (LSE: ITV) has announced the sale of its entire 50% stake in BritBox International, an online video subscription service, to its joint venture partner BBC Studios for £255 million. The company plans to return all the proceeds to shareholders through a share buyback program.

The sale follows ITV’s strategic decision to focus on its UK-based advertiser-funded streaming service, ITVX, and its global Studios division. As part of the transaction, ITV Studios will continue to receive revenue from BritBox International through extended content licensing agreements.

Shares in ITV rose 14% following the news on Friday morning. The transaction is expected to be completed after ITV’s full-year results are released next week.

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“The sale of 50% of BritBox International means ITV is focused on its core strategic goals of continuing to build on ITVX’s success and growing ITV Studios,” said ITV Chief Executive Officer Carolyn McCall.

BBC Studios CEO Tom Fussell commented: “This acquisition is an important step for us. We are taking full ownership of a successful, growing service we know well and that fits with our ambition to expand our business globally.”