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Discovery, BSkyB Set to Acquire U.K.’s Channel 5: Report

Originally posted on Variety:

LONDON — Speculation is mounting in the U.K. that a £350 million ($587 million) joint bid by cabler Discovery Communications and Rupert Murdoch’s satcaster BSkyB for British free-TV broadcaster Channel 5 is likely to be successful.

A deal was agreed in principle last week, and was formalized on Monday, according to a report published by U.K. trade magazine Broadcast. Under the deal, Discovery would take a 70% stake and BSkyB would nab the remaining 30%. BSkyB would add Channel 5’s advertising inventory to its own sales operation.

Channel 5’s owner Northern & Shell denied a deal had been inked. “We have a number of bids as expected, which we will evaluate with our advisers over the next few days. Certainly no deal has been done,” a spokesperson said.

Other bidders are thought to include Viacom and Nordic TV group Modern Times Group. Northern & Shell had initially sought more than…

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