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Northern & Shell owner Richard Desmond considers sale of C5

Northern & Shell owner Richard Desmond is reportedly considering the sale of Channel 5, having appointed Barclays to explore its options.

The media mogul, who bought the broadcaster for £103.5m in 2010 is expected to be looking for more than £700m for the sale, according to reports.

The broadcaster undertook a major internal restructure when Desmond took the helm, which saw the replacement of major key executives and brought in new programmes such as the previously popular Big Brother, which it bought from production house Endemol in a two-year, £200m deal.

Under his leadership Channel 5 has returned to profitability.

Barclays has been appointed to evaluate a potential deal, having previously worked with Northern & Shell on the previous evaluation of its other assets including flagship title OK! in 2011.

It’s understood potential buyers have not yet been approached.

A Northern & Shell spoekswoman said: "It is flattering to be talked about as a possible seller and of course we are pleased with Channel 5's performance and progress. The channel has delivered well in 2013 and we look forward to further growth in 2014. As a media group with a broad portfolio of assets we are often the subject of speculation, but it remains our policy not to comment on these matters."

More to follow.

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