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Liberty Global Nabs 6.4% Stake In ITV

Expanding its media holdings in the United Kingdom, Liberty Global announced Thursday that it has acquired a 6.4% stake in U.K. broadcaster ITV from BSkyB.

Liberty Global, which acquired Virgin Media, the U.K.’s largest cable operator last June, said it bought 259.8 million shares of iTV plc for £481 million (US $822.37 million).

“This is an opportunistic and attractive investment for us in our largest cable market,” said Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries, in a statement. “ITV is the leading commercial broadcaster in the U.K. and we're excited to be shareholders.”

Liberty Global said this level of investment requires no regulatory approvals, and confirmed that it does not intend to make an offer to acquire ITV.  However, it did leave the door open to that possibility, noting that it does reserve the right to announce an offer or possible offer within the next six months.

That mere possibility of a future takeover caused BSkyB shares to spike 7% Thursday,The Guardianreported.