TV Bits: Pace/Philips, BSkyB’s ITV Stake, Rapture’s EPG Costs, C4 Fine

Pace/Phillips: Pace Micro is doing a reverse takeover of Dutch rival Philips’ set-top box business, making it the world’s third-largest TV box maker. The £68.5 million deal buys 70 million Philips shares (22 percent of the company) and gives Pace an enhanced IPTV product lineup. Via Independent.

BSkyB: The Competition Commission has ruled BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) must either dispose of its entire 17.9 percent stake in ITV (LSE: ITV) or reduce it to 7.5 percent. The £946 million share, taken in November 2006, was widely seen as an attempt to shut out NTL’s possible bid for the broadcaster. It’s now been found to carry the likelihood of a “substantial lessening of expected to result from the acquisition”. The secretary of state for business and enterprise will now consider the commission’s proposed remedies by end of January.

Rapture: More antitrust pressure for Sky. At the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London, extreme sports channel Rapture is trying to overturn an Ofcom ruling that decided BSkyB had been within its rights not to drop the fee charged to the channel for appearing on the network’s electronic programme guide (EPG), despite Rapture’s meager income. Sky maintained an annual £78,500 fee though Rapture only brought in £150,000. Today, Sky’s QC told the tribunal “this was not a viable business and had nothing to do with the level of the EPG charge” (via Guardian).

Channel 4: Ofcom fined the broadcaster £1 million for the call-TV scandal that kicked off this year’s furore over the interactive format. Some competition entrants to the Richard & Judy show never had their entries included for consideration. The broadcaster was also fined £500,000 for similar transgressions in Deal Or No Deal. Full adjudication PDF.