• Club buys BSkyB's one-third minority stake in channel
• United say they now have 'in-house expertise' to go it alone
Manchester United have bought BSkyB's one-third stake in MUTV, the in-house television station, as part of their "long-term digital media plans", the club has announced.
Richard Arnold, the club's commercial director, said: "The acquisition of Sky's stake is great news for all of our fans who watch us around the globe, MUTV, its staff and the club. We look forward to continuing to enhance our media proposition and distribution capabilities in the years to come, and delivering some of the best and most compelling content to our 659m followers."
A press release stated: "Manchester United, one of the most popular and successful sports teams in the world, today announced the acquisition of the one-third minority equity stake in Manchester United Television (MUTV) from BskyB (Sky). MUTV is now a wholly owned group subsidiary.
"As part of its long-term digital media plans, Manchester United has made the strategic acquisition of Sky's stake in MUTV in order to own 100% of the content production and distribution capabilities of this business. MUTV was launched in 1998 as a three-way joint venture, with UK broadcasters ITV and Sky as equal partners. Since then, MUTV has developed considerable in-house expertise and Manchester United bought ITV's one-third equity stake in November 2007. This latest acquisition is a natural progression and is indicative of the club's desire to have full control of the content generating and distribution capabilities across all of its businesses.
"Sky has been an active and highly valued partner since the channel's inception and has helped to build the best and most watched club football channel in the world. We will continue to have a close relationship with Sky in the future."
MUTV has a staff of 60 who are based at offices in central Manchester and in facilities at Old Trafford, with a studio at Carrington, the training ground.