Irish newspapers are reporting today that ITV is to acquire UTV, the Northern Ireland television channel, in a multi-million pound deal.

Neither ITV nor UTV Media have yet confirmed the move, but UTV has today confirmed it is “in discussions regarding a potential sale of its television assets”.

It added: “Discussions are ongoing and may or may not result in such a transaction being agreed. A further announcement will be made when appropriate.”

UTV has been locally owned since it was launched in Belfast in 1959, so a sale to the English-based ITV network would be a significant moment in Ulster’s broadcasting history.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that UTV’s radio division – which includes talkSPORT, Juice FM and Tower FM – would be unaffected by any deal, although earlier this year it did confirm it was “assessing the options for its UK independent local radio stations”.

The UK arm of UTV is based in Warrington.