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ITV Digital to pull plug on pay channels tonight unless buyer is found

LONDON - All pay-TV services on terrestrial digital broadcaster ITV Digital will cease at midnight tonight as reports emerge that the company is to go into liquidation unless a last minute deal is struck with a potential buyer.

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ITV Digital administrator Deloitte & Touche is understood to have spoken to all the broadcasters suppliers including channel providers such as MTV, UKTV and BSkyB.

Sources at ITV Digital said that Deloitte needs to close the company tonight as leaving it any longer will mean that staff have to be paid two weeks wages in advance tomorrow.

Deloitte has so far declined to issue a clarification, but it has confirmed that a statement will be released by 5pm this evening.

Once ITV Digital has gone into liquidation only a handful of free-to-air channels, largely provided by the UK's terrestrial broadcasters, will remain.

They include BBC Choice, BBC4, CBeebies, CBBC Digital, News 24, ITN News, ITV2 and shopping channels like QVC.

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