Olympics broadcaster Discovery mulls bid for Channel 4
American broadcaster Discovery is considering a bid for Channel 4 as the government attempts to privatise the channel.
Discovery, which owns Eurosport and a number of other UK channels, is reportedly looking to challenge ITV with the potential move.
The Sunday Telegraph reports that Discovery is holding preliminary talks around putting in a bid for Channel 4 if the government goes ahead with privatisation this year.
Discovery paid £1.1bn for the European rights to the Olympics until Paris 2024, meaning that to watch all the games people have had to subscribe to Eurosport.
BBC cut a deal with Discovery to be able to show some of the games, however its output is severely reduced from previous years.
If Discovery bought Channel 4 it would not need to do future deals with BBC to allow them to show the Olympics on free to air TV.
It would also give Discovery a large enough UK portfolio to compete for advertising with ITV, thanks to its ownership of channels like Eurosport and Really.
Discovery has drafted a strategy in recent years to expand its footprint in free to air TV markets across the world.
This included buying free to air TV channels in Germany and New Zealand to add to its assets in Poland and Scandinavia.
A government source told the Telegraph: “The idea that the BBC being able to borrow in order to invest to boost its commercial income is not impossible at all, there is a case for that. But buying Channel 4 is not quite what we had in mind.”
Discovery said the company was not preparing a bid for Channel 4.