Virgin Media starts legal action against BSkyB

Virgin Media began legal action against British Sky Broadcasting Group, giving new life to a spat between the rival pay-TV companies over content fees as it sought compensation for alleged anticompetitive behavior, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said Virgin Media, formed by a merger this year between Richard Branson's Virgin Mobile and cable operator NTL, filed proceedings in the High Court under Britain's Competition Act and the European Commission treaty, which prohibit a company from abusing its dominant position.

The report further quoted the company as saying that it was resorting to legal action after Sky rejected an offer to solve the dispute through arbitration by an independent expert.

Virgin stopped airing basic BSkyB channels, dropping popular programs such as 'Lost,' '24,' and 'The Simpsons,' earlier this month after the pair failed to agree on pricing for the channels, the report added.

BSkyB, controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., had no immediate comment, the report further said.