Discovery, which has been aggressively expanding outside of the US in television, had been in talks with BSkyB over a possible joint bid. It is unclear whether BSkyB was still involved in the process.
UK FTA channel Channel 5, which broadcasts the likes of Big Brother and Neighbours, was bought by Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell media group in 2010 for £103.5 million and made a profit of £20.6 million in the first half of 2013, up from a loss of £16.1 million a year earlier.
In January Desmond hired Barclays to look for buyers for the TV network and was expecting to raise about £700 million.
Questioned at the FT Digital Media Conference in London in late March, David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications had no comment on Discovery’s rumoured bid for Channel 5 other than to hint the vendor’s £700 million valuation meant any deal was unlikely.