UK broadcaster Granada Media has launched its drive to expand overseas, acquiring 45% of Irish commercial operator TV3 from Canada's CanWest Global Communications for $28m in cash.
Granada has also agreed to sell its major programme brands to TV3, with the broadcaster's flagship soap Coronation Street moving from Irish state broadcaster RTE to TV3 next year. The stake will be held in a new joint venture with TV3's founders and CanWest's remaining 45%.
The overseas expansion comes after Granada emerged as the largest UK commercial broadcaster by buying the bulk of the TV assets of rival concern United News & Media this year. TV3 has become Ireland's third most watched channel since launching two years ago, recording an audience share of just under 10%.
Granada chairman Charles Allen said: "Today's deal with TV3 is a significant first step in our European development programme and immediately positions Granada Media as a vertically integrated broadcaster in one of Europe's most dynamic economies."