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BBC buys out ITV from BritBox International in £255m deal

The BBC has bought out ITV from the international version of streaming service BritBox in a £255 million deal, the companies announced on Friday.

BritBox International, which is separate from the UK version, will now be fully owned by the commercial arm of the BBC. It had previously been half owned by BBC Studios and ITV.

The streaming service has grown to have about 3.75 million subscribers since it launched in 2017 as a joint venture between the companies.

ITV said the deal would allow it to focus on its own UK streaming service, ITVX, and the company said it would return all the money it makes from the sale to shareholders.

ITV will still get a stream of revenue which is “similar to current levels” from BritBox International for the use of ITV content. The licensing agreements between ITV and BritBox have been extended as part of the deal, the firms said.

ITV added: “BritBox UK is unaffected and will still feature BBC content as part of separate long-term agreements.”

BBC Studios chief executive Tom Fussell said: “This is an important acquisition for us. We are taking full ownership of a successful, growing service we know well and that fits with our stated ambition to double the size of our business.

“Britbox International has British content at its heart and it generates and satisfies demand for British shows outside the UK.

“We will continue to make significant investments in the future to deliver long-term value to the BBC.”

ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “The sale of 50% of BritBox International means ITV is focused on its core strategic goals of continuing to build on ITVX’s success and growing ITV Studios.”

BritBox International is available in eight countries: the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.