Television

Viacom to acquire Channel 5 for ?450 million

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MUMBAI: In what has come as big news for many, Viacom International Media Networks is all set to acquire UK based Channel 5 Broadcasting Limited for ?450 million (approximately $757 million). The announcement was made by Viacom and Northern & Shell Media Group through a press statement.

The transaction brings Viacom, one of British television's biggest brands, and the only commercial public service broadcaster to consistently grow viewership share in recent years.

Under the terms of the agreement, Viacom will acquire all brands and assets of Channel 5 Limited, including: Channel 5, 5*, 5USA, Milkshake! and Demand 5.

The purchase price of the acquisition will be financed by Viacom's existing cash balances and the transaction is expected to be accretive immediately after closing. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

Channel 5's diverse programming slate is viewed by more than 80 per cent of the UK population each month. The acquisition is set to complement Viacom's popular pay TV networks, which connect with focused and valuable audiences.

"The acquisition of Channel 5 accelerates Viacom's strategy in the UK, one of the world's most important and valuable media markets," said Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman, through a press statement.

"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,” he said.

The deal will dramatically increase Viacom's investment in content produced in the UK, “which has a widely admired public service broadcasting culture and a globally influential production sector. We look forward to partnering with local producers to introduce more UK-created content to global audiences, and will continue to explore opportunities in the UK, both in the free-to-air and pay television markets," added Dauman.

Channel 5 chief operating officer Paul Dunthorne further said, "Since Northern & Shell's acquisition of Channel 5 in 2010, the financial and operating performance of the business has been transformed with improved audiences and content offering. The combination of Channel 5 with Viacom's global resources, technology and expertise adds further to the momentum of the business and offers numerous exciting opportunities for the channel's future."

The acquisition of Channel 5 builds on Viacom's long and successful track record of investment in the UK. The company launched MTV in the market in 1987, followed by Nickelodeon in 1993 and Comedy Central in 1995, growing to more than 20 branded TV networks currently on air, including BET, VIVA and VH1. Viacom's continued growth resulted in it being the most successful international supplier of pay TV channels to the UK market in 2013. 

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