Viacom buy Channel 5 for £450m

Viacom buy Channel 5 for £450m

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Thursday, 11th September 2014

Viacom has completed its £450m acquisition of Channel 5, after initially confirming the deal at the beginning of May 2014.

The partnership, which received unconditional clearance from the European Commission, sees Viacom graduate from ordering a small number of UK shows to running a broadcaster which receives over 42m UK viewers a month.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said that the takeover, which has been closed nine days earlier than was expected, will "significantly increase Viacom's investment in British creativity and content."

Richard Desmond's publishing company Northern & Shell who owned Channel 5 had recieved a joint bid from Discovery and BSkyB but the offer was withdrawn in April 2014. 

Marking the new partnership, Viacom announced the first joint commissions between Channel 5 and its UK pay TV channels. Channel 5 and Viacom's MTV UK are jointly commissioning a new entertainment series called 10,000 BC, in which 20 volunteers will leave behind the comforts of modern life to go back to the Stone Age. The 10 x 60 minute series is being produced by The Garden and GroupM Entertainment with the aim of premiering on Channel 5 in 2015, with a spin-off show airing on MTV UK.

Children's TV will see a range of changes, including the combined forces of Viacom's Nickelodeon and Channel 5's pre-school strand, Milkshake. A new animated series, Nella the Knight, is to be developed with the two broadcasters sharing the rights. Episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will also air on Channel 5.

"We are committed to strengthening Channel 5's status as one of UK broadcasting's premier brands, and we will continue to grow the network's pipeline of original programming with more quality commissions, as well as acquisitions. The addition of Channel 5 will also benefit our existing UK pay television channel portfolio, as demonstrated by the announcement of our first two original programming commissions," explains Duaman.

He believes the acquisition will be beneficial for Viacom's shareholders, partners and television audiences.

Channel 5's Commercial Director of Sales, Nick Bampton, and its Chief Operating Officer, Paul Dunthorne, will report separately to David Lynn, EVP, Managing Director of VIMN UK, and join his UK senior management team, along with Channel 5's Programme Director, Ben Frow.

David Lynn said: "Channel 5's senior executive and sales teams continue to perform strongly and, with an innovative approach to commercial partnerships, have delivered great results. We look forward to working with the senior team and in-house sales staff to build on this success."

Channel 5's advertising sales team will be retained following the closure of the deal.

By Sanya Burgess

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