UPC owner Malone agrees terms to take over TV3 in an €87m deal
US billionaire John Malone has won the race to buy TV3, in a deal that could be worth up to €87m.
UPC, which is owned by Mr Malone's Liberty Global, last night said it would pay TV3's private equity owner Doughty Hanson €80m for the independent broadcaster. It could wind up paying another €7m if TV3 hits certain performance targets.
UPC Ireland chief executive Magnus Ternsjo said he was "pleased" with the deal.
"The investment we are making secures the long-term future of TV3. With its wide range of home-grown programming, TV3 holds a unique place in the heart of Irish viewers.
"This is a terrific addition to the TV service we offer - which is already the best in Ireland," he said.
If regulators sign off on the purchase it will give Mr Malone's company a foothold in TV production, broadcasting, broadband and phone services in Ireland.
That will create an instant rival to Eircom - which leads the broadband market - and Sky, which is investing heavily in a so-called "triple play" of home phone, broadband and TV services.
The deal also opens the way for huge investment in TV3 and means it can be even more competitive with the likes of RTE.
Mr Malone is one of the biggest media players in the world.
His Liberty Global conglomerate controls some of the biggest cable providers.
He also has substantial property interests around the globe. He is the biggest private landowner in the US, with over two million acres to his name.
He has bought extensively in Ireland since the crash, especially hotels.
Among the properties he has taken over here are the Westin and Intercontinental Hotels in Dublin, as well as the Limerick Strand Hotel.
In 2013 he bought Humewood Castle and its 400-acre grounds for €8m.