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Next Please! as UK’s Five TV Station Seeks New Suitor

News, 23 November 2004

UK commercial television station Five is said to be in discussions with Flextech following the end of merger talks with state-owned broadcaster,Channel 4.

The two companies closed the door on 12 months of negotiations last week, citing irreconcilable differences [WAMN: 18-Nov-2004].

Flextech is the content operation of cable company Telewest and owns channels including UK Gold and UK History. Five needs a content boost to compete with the UK's biggest commercial broadcaster ITV and Rupert Murdoch's satellite giant BSkyB.

Five's audience share dropped in the three months ending September 26 by 0.1% to 6.4%, according to latest figures from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, but revenues rose in the first half of 2004 to £135 million (€192m, $251m), despite "mixed advertising conditions" in Europe.

The Bertelsman-owned RTL Group, a co-owner of Five, has not commented so far on the Flextech talks but has stressed it is looking at "all possible options in the UK".

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff