LETTER : Serious money for Channel 5 licence

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The Independent Online
From Mr David Asper

Sir: As a member of a group which has bid £36m for the Channel 5 licence, I was naturally interested to learn from Rhys Williams ("Identical bids for C5 provoke disbelief", 4 May) that, according to Kleinwort Benson's media analyst, "the experience of ITV companies at the last franchise round is that anyone who bid more than £20m has faced serious problems".

There were five companies that together put up more than £170m for their Channel 3 licences. They included Carlton, hardly showing signs of financial distress, and Meridian, whose major shareholder is again supporting a £20m-plus bid, this time for Channel 5.

Generalisations, particularly inaccurate ones, would be out of place in a raffle. They certainly have no place in bidding for broadcasting licences, which I believe all of the present applicants regard as a wholly serious business.

Yours faithfully,

DAVID ASPER

Strategic Development Director

UK TV

London, WC2

7 May

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