The Daily Telegraph reports that BT is in talks to acquire YouView. The deal, which could cost BT upwards of £60 million, would give the provider compete control over the set top box and its technology.
Currently, ownership of YouView is shared between BT and six other shareholders, including TalkTalk and the BBC. BT wants to take total control, to accelerate development of the technology behind the box. According to the Telegraph, senior figures within the provider are frustrated at the slow progress of the service, particularly when compared to Virgin Media and TalkTalk's set top boxes.
BT allegedly believed it could buy out the other shareholders for under £20 million, but reports say that the price has been pushed up to around £60 million, as TalkTalk and the BBC negotiate for a better deal and some guarantees over the future of the project.
While most shareholders seem eager to sell YouView, the Telegraph sources say that the BBC is the biggest block to this happening. The original project was intended to succeed Freeview, but that hasn't really happened.
As a result, the Beeb chiefs are reportedly worried that their investment will be seen as a subsidy for BT. It also wants to ensure public service and features, including accessibility tools, continue to be developed.
TalkTalk would gain by selling, as it wouldn't have to fund development anymore and could shift resources into developing the streaming technology it bought with Blinkbox. But it apparently wants assurances that it can continue to provide YouView boxes to customers before it agrees any deal.
No parties involved in YouView have commented on the story.
Source: The Telegraph
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