BSkyB 'in pole position for Virgin channels'
Broadcaster BSkyB is in pole position to land a package of seven digital channels from rival Virgin Media after tabling a huge bid, it was reported today.
BSkyB is said to have offered £160 million for the channels - including Living, Bravo, Challenge and Virgin One - about £60 million more than their nearest rival, the Financial Times reported.
The strong bid - far surpassing offers from other participants including Channel 4, Time Warner and RTL - could create a headache for the seller.
Virgin Media - which is said to be selling the channels to help pay debts of £5.9 billion - may be reluctant to sell the channels to its fiercest rival, the FT says.
BSkyB and Virgin clashed in 2007 in a legal battle over how much they would pay each other to host their "own-brand" channels.
BSkyB argued in court pleadings that Virgin's channels were almost worthless to its subscribers, despite its huge reported bid today.
Virgin says its seven channels - which span pay and free-to-air television reach more than 24 million adult viewers every month.
The firm launched Virgin One in October 2007 although channels such as Living and Bravo came from the former ntl/Telewest business. This in turn merged with Virgin Mobile in 2007 and was then rebranded as Virgin Media.
The Living channel is described as the "ultimate entertainment destination in pay television, full of guilty pleasures and trashy glamour", while Virgin 1 - "intelligent tabloid TV at its best" - hosts shows such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Virgin Media also offers customers broadband and telephone services alongside TV channels. In recent quarterly results, the firm added that a record 57% of its customers now took all three of its services.
BSkyB and Virgin Media both declined to comment on the FT's story.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food