Discovery Communications is exploring the possibility of teaming up with UK pay-TV network BSkyB in an attempt to acquire UK terrestrial broadcaster Channel 5 (C5), according to reports in The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times.
C5 has set a deadline of February 27 for bids from potential new owners. The network was acquired by British businessman Richard Desmond from previous owner RTL for £103.5 million (US$172 million) in 2010.
Through a program of aggressive cost-cutting and layoffs, Desmond is largely perceived as having turned around the ailing network, and reports on both sides of the Atlantic suggest that the sale price being touted by C5 is in the £700 million (US$1.16 billion) range.
According to The Financial Times, a Discovery-Sky tie-up would see Sky taking over C5′s advertising sales operation. Both parties are declining to comment on the stories.