US-owned cable operator Telewest, which operates solely in the UK, is reported to have issued a memorandum to a number of companies that have expressed interest in acquiring its content arm, Flextech.

The document highlights the company's financial performance and is believed to have been sent to RTL, BSkyB, Viacom, Discovery Communications, ITV and Hallmark TV parent, Sparrowhawk.

The contenders apparently have until the end of the first week of September to submit their bids, which are expected to be in the region of £700 million ($1.25bn; €1bn).

James Murdoch, ceo of BSkyB, said his group would "have a look", Sparrowhawk admitted it is 'interested', while RTL views the purchase as a 'logical acquisition'.

The potential sale comes as Telewest prepares for a £5.5 billion merger with rival NTL, and some believe the Flextech memo may have been sent with the aim of boosting Telewest's valuation ahead of the merger.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff