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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 07:18 GMT
NTL ends takeover interest in ITV
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ITV has been the focus of much attention in recent weeks
NTL has announced it has "no present intention" of making an offer for ITV.

The cable firm, which first said it was interested in a merger with ITV last month, said any deal was now unlikely to be attained on "acceptable terms".

Its comments come three weeks after satellite broadcaster BSkyB bought a 17.9% stake in ITV for 940m in an apparent move to block any NTL bid.

NTL confirmed it had complained to regulators about BSkyB's move, saying it raised "serious competition issues".

"The fact that Sky would spend nearly $2bn to acquire its stake immediately following the mere announcement of NTL's proposed combination, before the ITV board had an opportunity to respond, highlights the magnitude of the competition issues involved," NTL said.

Bid battle

BSkyB, part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, says it has done nothing wrong in buying into ITV.

Current UK media ownership rules mean the satellite broadcaster is only prevented from controlling more than 20% in ITV.

NTL's largest shareholder, Sir Richard Branson, has attacked the power of Mr Murdoch and urged the government to "stand up" to him.

ITV rejected NTL's 4.7bn ($9.3bn) bid last month, saying there was little strategic logic for it to combine with NTL, and that the offer materially undervalued ITV.

NTL said it would now concentrate on integrating its NTL and Telewest cable businesses and the Virgin Mobile division. The company is set to change its name to Virgin Media early next year.

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