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Discovery is still interested in buying a stake in Channel 4, despite the UK government backing off plans to privatise the channel. David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery, said the company was still interested in a potential deal if it could be given freedom to run less public service broadcasting content.
Zaslav said it is in the market to buy a major broadcast channel – but he added that ITV is unlikely to be a target because of its high price.
“Having [another] broadcast channel in Europe would be attractive,” said Zaslav, who in the past has looked at Channel 5 and a 50 per cent stake in Gold owner UKTV when the businesses have been up for sale. “It would really depend on what the pricing would be, but also we’d need enough flexibility to commercially programme it. So the question for anybody with Channel 4 – we’ve looked at it over the last year or two – has been, will there be an opportunity to programme it in a way …that appeals to Discovery?”
Zaslav said the company is always looking for potential acquisitions in Europe, having acquired the pan-European rights to the Olympics, taking over Eurosport and this week striking a deal with the BBC and the All England Lawn Tennis Club to air Wimbledon.