Former Channel 4 CEO Michael Grade is reportedly planning a takeover bid of the broadcaster.
The UK’s ITV network is also being touted as a potential bidder for Channel 4 as the UK government continues its formal review into potentially privatising the Great British Bake-Off broadcaster.
According to British newspaper The Times, Grade, who currently serves as chairman of the Marc Boyan-owned Miroma and who ran Channel 4 between 1988-1997, has emerged as a takeover candidate.
Grade, who has also served as chair of the BBC and ITV, last month told a House of Lords committee: “The time to change the nature of Channel 4 is now, before it falls over, before it succumbs to the inevitable decline.” The former exec is also advising ministers on the future of public service broadcasting as part of a panel.
ITV, meanwhile, is expected to be a front runner if the government does decide on a sale. The Times notes that bankers from Credit Suisse and Robey Warshaw are understood to be advising ITV on its potential options.
Other potential bidders for Channel 4 include at least one US private equity firm, along with Comcast-owned Sky and Channel 4, which is owned by ViacomCBS.
Any potential buyer should expect to pay close to £500 million to takeover Channel 4, which is currently planning to expand its brand outside of the UK with the launch a new international AVOD streaming service.
While the government has made the case that privatisation could secure the broadcaster’s future, many, including its CCO Ian Katz, believe that “what is special about the channel would be destroyed.”