Dave and Gold owner UKTV tipped for deal spree if BBC is forced to sell off £500m stake in broadcaster

William Turvill
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UKTV owns Gold, which broadcasts David Jason's Only Fools and Horses (Source: Getty)

UKTV is being tipped to go on an acquisition spree if the BBC is forced to sell off its £500m-valued stake.

The broadcaster owns 10 channels including Dave and Gold, which broadcasts Only Fools and Horses, Alan Partridge and Fawlty Towers.

It has been reported that if the BBC is forced to sell its 50 per cent stake, American co-owner Scripps could support acquisition activity.

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Culture secretary John Whittingdale wants the BBC to sell off its stake in UKTV, the Sunday Times reported over the weekend.

And the Telegraph today reports that UKTV's ability to acquire has been limited in part by BBC fears that such activity could be seen as an encroachment on commercial territory.

UKTV and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have declined to comment.

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In an interview with the Telegraph, before news of Whittingdale's plans emerged, UKTV chief executive Darren Childs said: "Both shareholders have been phenomenal in backing us to reinvest profits into content and other bits."

Tim Davie, chief executive of BBC Worldwide, last year ruled out the sale of the corporation's 50 per cent stake in UKTV, with Scripps understood to have made repeated approaches.

Last week, UKTV reported a 13 per cent growth in revenue to £319m in 2015. Its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda), meanwhile, were up 10 per cent to £82m.

Childs said: “UKTV has had market-beating growth again this year, taking the business to the next level. As investment increases, I’m confident this year will see yet more significant growth for this vibrant business."