Saturday, April 12, 2014

Greenhouse Nearly Complete and UK Channel 5 TV Sale

Now with door!

I was listening to Fern Britton on the radio this morning talking about the new BBC2 Allotment programme - the show starts next week and it's called The Big Allotment Challenge and Fern made the excellent point that when you start a job it is never finished (like a painting I think?) so we've not finished the Greenhouse it needs securing and shelves as a minimum but it does now have a door and most of the kit is used up.

Fern did seem genuinely interested in growing and it seems that her husband Chef Phil uses some of what she grows in his cooking and I'll certainly check out the Challenge when it starts this week.

I have also planted more seed potatoes this time Red Desiree main crop, more to follow (Maris Pipers).

Channel 5 Sale moves closer

Richard Desmond's Northern  and Shell looks set to make a tidy sum if the sale of the UK's Channel 5 TV completes in the manner Desmond has said that he expects £700m (Desmond paid about £103.5m for the station in 2010) but the figure is somewhat inflated and he may have to settle for considerably l;ess or keep the channel on his books.

Desmond has chosen a good time to sell the channel as the UK economy bounces back and the adverting rates paid by agencies rise.

Channel 5 is best known by UK viewers as home of popular imports like the CSI and NCIS crime series as well as Australian Soap Operas including Neighbours, Channel 5 makes few programmes of its own but does now deliver reality shows like Big Brother.

BT the large former state Telco who have become a player in the UK TV business have ruled themselves out of the bidding as has the quasi State broadcaster Channel 4 but there are plenty of other groups with deep pockets who are interested, the front runners in the race for the channel include:

ITV - ITV may fear another strong terrestrial broadcaster and wish to remove such a risk but with an already expanding portfolio of channels the benefit would appear limited but reports are that ITV has also rules itself out

Vodafone- this is a bit of a left field prospect but it Vodafone has shown the wherewithal  and inclination to pay £6bn for Ono which is Spain's largest cable operator.

Discovery/Sky- A combined bid from Discovery and Sky has been mentioned widely, Discovery has recently become acquisitive outside of it's home market where it is increasingly sidelined by mega mergers - it bought a 20%  interest in Eurosport recently, and now that founder  John Hendriks has stood down it is perhaps less inclined to stay within it original remit. Discovery's bid would certainly change the UK landscape. 
Viacom  -Viacom  has been mentioned as a bidder, Nickelodeon and MTV owner would be able to benefit from cross-promotional and content synergies

Scripps   the US company that owns 50% of UK TV which  is the  operator  of free-to-air channels in the UK

Saban Capital which owns brands like Power Rangers-  it seems remains an outside possibility in the 'race' for the purchase.

To me the price is ridiculously inflated, Channel 5 is actually very limited as an asset base and competitors in the free to air TV broadcast business face far lower entry costs than they have in years gone by as result of the rise of IPTV, Freesat and Freeview.

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