One of, if not the, most famous soccer franchises in the world has gained complete control of its television network.
Manchester United has bought out BSkyB's 33.3 percent equity stake in the Manchester United Television network (which is called MUTV). Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal gives Manchester United complete 100 percent control of the network.
Part of the deal included the extension of the carriage deal, which allows BSkyB subscribers to view Manchester United games on an a la carte basis.
"We have sold our stake in MUTV to allow to Manchester United to take full control of the channel," a BSkyB spokesman said. "We are proud to have supported the channel’s launch and subsequent success. MUTV will continue to be available to Sky customers and we look forward to continuing to have a close relationship with the channel."
The soccer club made the move so that it could fully own its content and distribution, it said in a statement this morning.
“As part of the club's long-term digital media plans, Manchester United has made the strategic acquisition," the statement read. “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.”
MUTV was created in 1998 by BSkyB and ITV. In November 2007, the club bought out ITV's one-third stake. The network is available in 57 countries.
“The acquisition of Sky’s stake is great news for all our fans who watch us around the globe, MUTV, its staff and the club,” said Manchester United commercial director Richard Arnold. “We look forward to continuing to enhance our media proposition and distribution capabilities in the years to come, and delivering some of the best and most compelling content to our 659 million followers.”