Channel 5 To Be Bought By MTV's Owner
It has been confirmed that Viacom, the owner of MTV, has agreed to buy Channel 5 for £450m.
The deal represents a £346m profit on what media tycoon Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell paid for the broadcaster in 2010, but the price tag fell short of the reported £700m he initially sought.
Viacom's successful bid is subject to regulatory approval but the agreement marks the first time a US broadcaster has taken control of one of the UK's five free-to-air channels.
Its chief executive Philippe Dauman said: "The acquisition of Channel 5 accelerates Viacom's strategy in the UK, one of the world's most important and valuable media markets.
"Channel 5's momentum is indisputable, with impactful programming, increasing popularity and a growing digital platform.
"Channel 5's management and employees have done an outstanding job building their brand and we are pleased to welcome them to our team.
"Viacom's global resources, technology and expertise will help Channel 5 develop even more compelling programming and provide content to consumers in exciting new ways.
"In addition, we will introduce our popular content to new UK audiences and create a comprehensive offering for our commercial partners on-air and on-line."
Viacom, which is best-known in the UK for MTV, has more than 20 branded TV channels available in the country, including Nickelodeon and Comedy Central.
Channel 5's fortunes have been transformed since Northern & Shell, which also owns the Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers, bought it four years ago.
Mr Desmond was credited with bringing in viewers by snapping up Big Brother after it was ditched in favour of new projects by Channel 4.