Imagine the glee in the Branson household on Monday. Imagine the tension in the Murdoch abode.

On that day trade secretary, Alistair Darling gave out instructions to Ofcom, and the ramifications are potentially very far reaching indeed.

You may recall when NTL, which now trades under the name of Virgin Media and has enlisted the help of Uma Thurman to educate us, tried to buy ITV. BSkyB rather took the wind out of its sales, however, when it acquired a 19.7 percent stake in the UK’s biggest independent terrestrial TV broadcaster

Of course, content is all important these days for TV companies. And the Achilles heel of Virgin Media is content. The purchase of ITV would have represented an obvious answer.

It goes without saying that the BSkyB purchase left Branson hopping mad. And you can see why.

Since then a row has broken out over broadcasting Sky channels over the Virgin Media network. Maybe if Virgin had owned ITV, it would be a different story.

Never mind. Now Mr Darling has asked the industry’s regulator, to investigate whether the share purchase “raises public interest concerns about the number of different owners of media enterprises”.

© Investment & Business News 2013