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Discovery reportedly eyeing Channel 4 takeover

Discovery has emerged as a potential suitor for UK public broadcaster Channel 4.

The UK government announced a formal consultation into the potential privatisation of Channel 4 last month, arguing that such a move “could help secure its future”.

With this process underway, The Telegraph has reported that Discovery is in the midst of informal discussions over a takeover of the broadcaster. The bid process, it notes, is being handled by UK Government Investments and that any deal would be expected to close in the middle of 2022.

While there has been fierce opposition from some critics who have argued that privatising Channel 4 would negatively impact the broadcaster’s content, culture secretary Oliver Dowden has argued that “the broadcasting landscape has changed beyond recognition” and that “a new ownership model for Channel 4 would be the best means of ensuring its future success and sustainability as a public service broadcaster and its continued contribution to the UK’s creative industries.”

Discovery has thus far denied any bids, while ITV and Comcast-owned Sky are also said to be exploring a takeover of Channel 4.

The report notes that Discovery would be keen on a purchase as a way of exploiting its costly Olympics rights without the need to sublicence them to the BBC, but that a deal could be complicated by the planned US$43 billion merger with WarnerMedia.

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