The process to sell the company, confirmed last week after months of speculation, is being led by investment firm JP Morgan, according to The Sunday Times, with the price tag substantially more than the £1bn that had been touted by the UK’s government.
Potential acquisitors mooted by industry sources range from commercial rival ITV and Comcast-owned Sky, to Warner Bros. Discovery, Channel 5 owner Paramount and even BBC Studios, the commercial arm of the BBC.
The UK government last week said that C4 would be allowed to produce in-house and sell its programming once a takeover is complete, transforming its current ‘publisher-broadcaster’ model credited with helping the country’s production sector to flourish.
The move to sell off C4 has received major pushback from its CEO Alex Mahon and much of the UK’s production sector, along with lawmakers across parliament and well-known TV personalities such as former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies.
However, the UK’s Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure minister Julia Lopez spoke to lawmakers on Wednesday ahead of the policy paper’s release, praising its output but arguing that the industry has changed to the point where it will no longer be able to compete with major US streaming operators.