Manchester United Buys a TV Station

By Media & AdvertisingFOXBusiness

The popular British soccer club that went public to much fanfare last year, Manchester United (NASDAQ:MANU) has now decided to buy a television station.

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The world’s largest sports franchise announced a deal on Tuesday to buy a third of Manchester United Television from BSkyB, the satellite TV provider of which News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA), the parent of FOX Business, owns nearly half.

The purchase of the minority equity stake makes MUTV a wholly-owned group subsidiary of Manchester United, which now owns two-thirds of the station.

The television station was launched in 1998 as a three-way joint venture with U.K. broadcaster ITV and Sky as equal partners. Manchester United bought ITV’s one-third equity stake in November 2007.

“This latest acquisition is a natural progression and is indicative of the Club’s desire to have full control of the content generating and distribution capabilities across all of its businesses,” Manchester United said.

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Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The television station, which employs about 60 staff and currently operates in central Manchester, is available in 57 countries through a combination of satellite and cable platforms within the U.K., as well as subscription or programming blocks purchased by international broadcasters.

Shares of the soccer club touched a 52-week high of $15.64 early Tuesday morning.

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