The US media group is understood to be one of those mulling a bid for the UK’s smallest terrestrial broadcaster. Endemol, ITV and BSkyB are also kicking the tyres. Would-be buyers have until June 21 to submit bids. Warner Bros declined to comment.
The attraction from Warner Bros’ point of view is that Five would provide a platform for its movies and TV programmes. And, unlike ITV, there wouldn’t be any regulatory problems with Time Warner buying Five. RTL, the European media group which owns Five, already has an output deal with Warner Bros in Germany.
Analysts predict Five could be worth anything between £200-250 million ($300-375 million). This is despite it losing £37 million last year, causing owner RTL to write down its $712 million investment to $137 million.
Dutch Big Brother producer Endemol has instructed media lawyers Wiggin to prepare its Five bid. Like Time Warner, Endemol is looking for a content platform – especially since Channel 4 has cancelled reality show Big Brother and its programmes are not doing so well in the US.
“Anything you can do to get product in front of more eyeballs makes sense,” one senior industry figure tells me.
The sale apparently includes RTL’s UK production/distribution arms Talkback (The X Factor) and Fremantle, which Endemol could then bundle together with its Tiger Aspect (Mr Bean) and docu-maker Darlow Smithson production businesses. Endemol’s famously tough CEO Ynon Kreiz – he used to be an Israeli army soldier – oversaw …