BBC, Channel 4 plot $659M bid for Discovery's half of UKTV, report says

UKTV owns 10 free and pay TV channels—including Alibi, Dave, Eden and Gold—as well as streaming platform UKTV Play. (UKTV)

The BBC and Channel 4 are reportedly cooking up a £500 million ($659 million) bid for Discovery’s half of UKTV, according to The Guardian.

Discovery, which is reportedly looking to sell off UKTV if the right deal is presented, took ownership of the network earlier this year when it completed its $14.6 billion acquisition of Scripps Networks.

UKTV owns 10 free and pay TV channels—including Alibi, Dave, Eden and Gold—as well as streaming platform UKTV Play. BBC owns 50% of the network and Discovery owns the other 50%.

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As the report points out, BBC wants to take control of UKTV due to its growing profits but doesn’t have the financial strength to do it alone. Channel 4 can help with that through its available cash and revolving credit.

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In 2011, Virgin Media sold its half of UKTV to Scripps for £339 million, which included £239 million in cash and about £100 million for the outstanding preferred stock and debt.

Discovery has been focused on growing its live sports rights in Europe, and UKTV doesn’t really factor into that strategy. UKTV’s channels are largely lifestyle and entertainment networks.

Most recently, Discovery Inc. paid $2 billion for PGA Tour golf television rights outside of the U.S.

Discovery's new 12-year deal with the PGA kicks off in 2019 and includes global multiplatform live rights and approximately 2,000 hours of content per year. On top of the live linear rights in 220 markets and territories, Discovery and the PGA will create a PGA Tour-branded, OTT video streaming service built off the OTT work Discovery has done with Eurosport Player.