Discovery in talks to acquire Channel 4 Television in the UK


US broadcasting giant Discovery Inc (Nasdaq: DISCA) is in talks to potentially take over the UK public service channel’s network, Channel 4 Television Corporation.

The UK government is also in informal talks with broadcasters ITV Plc and Comcast Corporation’s Sky and does not plan to strike a deal until mid-2022, The telegraph reported on Saturday.

Discovery did not comment on the newspaper article.

It comes weeks after the UK Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sports launched a 10-week consultation to review Channel 4’s ownership structure and explore a potential sale.

Amid concerns over increased competition and changing viewing habits, officials said they believe private sector ownership could help the broadcaster raise new capital and diversify its revenue sources to build a more resilient financial base.

Launched in 1982, Channel 4 is a public, non-profit organization funded entirely by commercial activities. Its content is commissioned from over 300 independent UK-based production companies and includes shows like “The Great British Bakeoff”.

In a recent statement, Olivier dowden, UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, said: “The media world has changed dramatically since Channel 4 was founded in the early 1980s, but although we have more choice today, the need for a strong and efficient Channel 4 continues. ”

“In the face of growing global competition, the time has come to strengthen UK public service broadcasters and consider freeing Channel 4 from the constraints of public ownership, allowing it to thrive for the next 40 years and beyond,” Dowden said.

Global S&P noted that the sale could be a good opportunity for a large US buyer if the strict rules governing the public service broadcaster were relaxed.

Several groups have already said they oppose a potential Channel 4 sale, saying it will hurt small businesses during a period of recovery and rebuilding after the pandemic.

John McVay, CEO of Pact, a UK trade association that represents independent production and distribution companies, said: “The channel is a vibrant and successful public service broadcaster and a catalyst for generations of entrepreneurs.

“The current government’s thesis that bigger is always better is an archaic concept of an analog past,” he added.

British comedian and actor Ricky gervais He also spoke out, saying he believed Channel 4’s mandate would be “destroyed” if it were privatized and that he would be “very shameful” if ministers pushed ahead with the plans.


Source: News Actions

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