Monday 27 January 2020

BBC and Channel 4 consider £500m bid for UKTV

UKTV is the owner of Dave, Really and Gold channels.

BBC Worldwide has been linked to a bid for UKTV (Anthony Devlin/PA)
BBC Worldwide has been linked to a bid for UKTV (Anthony Devlin/PA)

By Helen Cahill, Press Association City Reporter

The BBC and Channel 4 are considering a joint bid for rival broadcaster UKTV – the owner of Dave, Really and Gold channels – according to reports.

UKTV is owned by BBC Worldwide and Discovery, which each have a 50% stake in the company.

BBC Worldwide was linked to a £500 million bid for UKTV in November last year, but described the reports as “speculation”.

It is thought the takeover interest was sparked off when Discovery made a 14.6 billion dollar (£11.08 billion) acquisition American broadcaster Scripps.

The merger between Discovery and Scripps has changed a control clause in the UKTV joint venture agreement, handing the BBC the right to buy the remaining half of its UK rival.

The BBC has jointly owned UKTV since it was founded more than 25 years ago, initially through a joint venture with Thames Television.

UKTV was set up to show repeats on pay-TV channels, but has since expanded into free-to-air broadcasting and also original programme content, such as the latest series of sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf and comedy show Taskmaster.

BBC Worldwide – the commercial arm of the broadcaster – received £72 million from UKTV in 2016, which goes towards helping fund programming at the BBC.

UKTV pays the BBC for rights to its back-catalogue of programmes including Dad’s Army and Top Gear.

The BBC and UKTV declined to comment. Channel 4 has been contacted for comment.

PA Media

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