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Discovery exploring takeover bid for UK's Channel 4 - The Telegraph

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(Reuters) - U.S.-based broadcaster Discovery Inc is holding informal discussions about a potential takeover bid for Britain's state-owned Channel 4 television broadcaster, The Telegraph reported on Saturday.

The potential bid process is being managed by UK Government Investments, the paper reported https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/07/31/olympics-broadcaster-lines-bid-channel-4, adding that a deal was not expected to be completed until the middle of next year.

Discovery did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Britain's government on July 6 announced a consultation on the sale of Channel 4, and it was considering changes to the operating model of the broadcaster, including its ownership, remit and obligations.

The advertising-funded Channel 4, whose hit shows include "The Great British Bake Off," was set up with a remit to provide challenging and distinctive programming for audiences under-served by traditional broadcasters.

Rival UK broadcasters ITV Plc and Comcast's Sky are also exploring a bid for Channel 4, Telegraph reported.

In its 2020 annual report, Channel 4 said its revenues were 934 million pounds, down 5% from 2019, with a pre-tax surplus of 74 million pounds, the highest in its 38-year history. Viewing share for its TV channel portfolio rose 2% to 10.1%, its first year-on-year increase since 2011. It set a target of doubling viewing by 2025.

(Reporting by Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)