Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed the channel, which is currently publicly-owned and advertiser-funded, could be sold or part-privatised to secure Channel 4 “a strong and secure future”.
“I think it is right to look at all of the options, including to see whether private investment into Channel 4 could help safeguard it for the future,” he added when asked in the House of Commons.
The comments are in stark contrast with the various denials about privatisation from ministers working under Cameron, including the increasingly-influential culture minister John Whittingdale.
Indications of the government’s seeming change of heart first came to light when a civil servant was photographed with documents that revealed a sell-off was an option under consideration.
Cameron’s comments have immediately come under fire from the Labour Party and other British political entities.
Discovery Communications, BT and a consortium led by former Channel 4 chairman, and now private investor, Lord Burns, have all been linked with an acquisition should the broadcaster become available.