Viacom to buy Channel 5 for £450m
Viacom Inc has announced that it will buy TV broadcaster Channel 5 from Richard Desmond for £450 million.
The deal will see Desmond, who bought the UK television channel in 2010 for £103.5 million, receive more than four times his initial investment; however, Desmond reportedly wanted £700 million for the channel.
"The acquisition of Channel 5 accelerates Viacom's strategy in the UK, one of the world's most important and valuable media markets," said Philippe Dauman, chief executive of Viacom.
"Channel 5's momentum is indisputable, with impactful programming, increasing popularity and a growing digital platform."
Viacom, which owns channels including MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1, will become the first US company to control a British public service broadcaster.
The company is the fourth-largest media conglomerate behind The Walt Disney Company, Time Warner and 21st Century Fox, and last financial year made pre-tax profits of $2.4 billion.
"Viacom's global resources, technology and expertise will help Channel 5 develop even more compelling programming and provide content to consumers in exciting new ways," Dauman added.
"In addition, we will introduce our popular content to new UK audiences and create a comprehensive offering for our commercial partners on-air and online."
C5 chief operating officer Paul Dunthorne said: "Since Northern & Shell's acquisition of C5 in 2010, the financial and operating performance of the business has been transformed with improved audiences and content offering.
"The combination of C5 with Viacom's global resources, technology and expertise adds further to the momentum of the business and offers numerous exciting opportunities for the channel's future."
Channel 5 launched in 1997 with an opening audience of 2.49 million tuning in for This is 5! The broadcaster is home to shows including Big Brother, Home and Away and The Wright Stuff.
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