Warburg Pincus To Sell Stake In Channel 5

01 Nov 1999  |  MediaTel Staff 

US venture capitalists, Warburg Pincus, began formal proceedings today to sell its 18% stake in Channel 5. The channel is reportedly valued at around £1 billion, making Warburg's stake worth around £180 million. A number of media groups are expected to be interested in the stake and C5's existing shareholders, Pearson, CLT-ufa and United News & Media will each have the option of matching any external offer to increase their own stake.

Pearson may be particularly interested in strengthening its holding in Channel 5 following the appointment of ITV chief Richard Eyre as chief executive of Pearson Television (see Eyre Departs ITV For Pearson Television). Eyre's appointment is seen as a commitment by Pearson to develop its television businesses.

Pearson already owns a 24% stake in Channel 5; United News and Media and CLT-Ufa each hold 29% and have expressed an interest in increasing their stakes. Other interested parties are believed to include pay-TV group Flextech and satellite broadcaster BSkyB, which held a meeting earlier this year with Warburg Pincus to discuss the possibility of acquiring the stake (see BSkyB Dicusses Buying Channel 5 Stake).

Channel 5, which launched in March 1997, recently recorded its highest ever week in terms of viewing figures (see Channel 5 Reports Best Week Ever) and took a 5.7% share of the TV audience in the latest figures.

Channel 5 and Warburg Pincus were unable to comment about the sale when called by Newsline today.

Channel 5: 0171 550 5555

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