Sky makes £160m bid for Virgin Media TV

By Julian Clover

BSkyB has placed what could be a decisive bid for the Virgin Media Television (VMTV) channels being auctioned off by the cablenet.

The Financial Times reported Friday that BSkyB had bid some £160m (€183m) for the VMTV channels that include Living TV, Challenge and Bravo. The FT said “people with knowledge of the process” had acknowledged the bid to be 60% higher than any of the other broadcasters interested in the division. These include Channel 4, Time Warner, RTL and NBC Universal.

VMTV’s joint venture with BBC Worldwide, covering the UKTV channels including GOLD, Watch and Dave is subject to a separate offer because of the BBC’s right of first refusal.

BSkyB is already the largest provider of channels within multichannel television and through its satellite platform a rival to the Virgin cablenet. The operator therefore faces a dilemma as to whether to accept a bid from the company with which it was in an 18-month dispute over basic channel carriage.