The Pensions Regulator (TPR) was right to use its powers to seek financial support from ITV for members of the Box Clever pension scheme, the Upper Tribunal has said.
The judgment published today follows a two-week hearing in January, when TPR tested its anti-avoidance powers in the courts in a bid to impose a financial support direction (FSD) on ITV.
The regulator opened the anti-avoidance investigation in 2009 following the collapse of Box Clever.
The case is the first substantive test of the watchdog's anti-avoidance powers.
Prior to the collapse, ITV extracted significant value from the 50:50 joint venture between Granada and Thorn, in a TV rental business named Box Clever Technology (BCT) in 2000.
According to the regulator, the scheme now has 2,800 members and approximately £115m deficit.
TPR director of case management Mike Birch Said: "We are very pleased with this ruling which sends a clear message to companies linked with defined benefit pension schemes that we will not hesitate to use our anti-avoidance powers where we believe it is reasonable for them to provide financial support."
He added it will pursue these cases for as long as necessary to protect savers and the Pension Protection Fund.
"This has been a long and complex case, where the targets have raised numerous legal challenges causing significant delays in an outcome being reached.
"We now hope that ITV will accept the Upper Tribunal's findings and seek to work with TPR to put in place appropriate financial support for the scheme and deliver a good outcome for members."
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