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ITV mulls buying half of UKTV in deal with BBC - Telegraph

ITV mulls buying half of UKTV in deal with BBC - Telegraph
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(Reuters) – British broadcaster ITV Plc <ITV.L> is considering entering into a joint venture valued at 1 billion pounds ($1.33 billion) with BBC to acquire half of broadcaster UKTV, the Telegraph newspaper reported on Monday.

According to terms of the joint venture, BBC has the right to buy out its partner at a set price before the end of next week, the newspaper reported.

The companies are attempting a deal to create a competitor to entertainment company Netflix Inc <NFLX.O>, the report said.

The opportunity to seal the deal will close within two weeks, according to the report.

UKTV, whose channels include Dave and Gold, is an independent commercial joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Discovery Inc <DISCA.O>, which earlier this year completed its acquisition of U.S. broadcaster Scripps Networks Interactive, the former owner of UKTV.

Discovery is working on an alternative plan for breaking up UKTV, the Telegraph said. BBC had earlier approached Sky Plc <SKYB.L> as a potential partner in the joint venture but the talks did not work out, the report added.

In November, the Telegraph had reported that BBC’s commercial arm was considering a 500-million-pound bid for full control of UKTV.

ITV is currently in the middle of a strategic review under new Chief Executive Carolyn McCall, who has previously said she would provide investors with an update of the review at the group’s half-year results in July.

ITV, BBC and Discovery did not respond to requests for comment outside regular business hours.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Brown)

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