Government scraps plan to fully privatise Channel 4
Channel 4 will not be fully privatised thanks to an intervention from the Government.
Downing Street previously considered a sell off of the state-owned broadcaster, valued at £1bn, as part of the broadcaster’s reform options.
It is now understood the Government have dropped plans for a full sale of Channel 4, but a series of other major reforms are still being considered, including the potential sale of a minority stake to a strategic partner such as BT.
Further plans for reform include the potential for having the of National Audit Office (NAO) inspect Channel 4’s accounts, which currently inspects the BBC’s accounts, the Telegraph reported.
Channel 4 may also be forced to pay a dividend to the Treasury, in a partial departure from its current non-profit status, in order to ensure it delivers better value for money for the taxpayer, the Telegraph reported.
John Whittingdale, the Culture Secretary, is also understood to be considering forcing the broadcaster to sell its landmark headquarters in Westminster and move to either Birmingham or Manchester. The relocation plans were first revealed by The Telegraph in June last year.
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The Government are hoping this move would help Channel 4 deliver on its remit to promote regional media.
Many Channel 4 executives and industry moguls have previously openly opposed full privatisation, a move that would result in Channel 4 being sold at auction to the highest bidder, which could have meant an American media giant such as Discovery, the Telegraph reported.