US-based media conglomerate Discovery Communications may be recruiting BSkyB to join a bid for Richard Desmond’s Channel 5, according to reports.
News that Desmond was looking to offload the channel trickled out in January, and bids for the channel – which Desmond is thought to value at around £700m – are due in next Thursday.
According to Financial Times sources, Discovery – which is controlled by John Malone - and BSkyB are in talks with the aim of BSkyB taking over the channel’s advertising sales remit following any successful bid.
Other possible contenders for the channel include BT and NBC Universal. In January, IHS TV programming intelligence analyst Tim Westcott told The Drum that an overseas buyer was the most likely to make a successful bid for the channel due to complex competition issues for any domestic buyers.
Desmond - founder Northern & Shell, which owns Express Newspapers - bought Channel 5 from RTL for £103m and turned it into a profit-making business over a three-year period.