Viacom International Media Networks have closed the £450 million deal to acquire Channel 5 from Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell.
Initially announced in May, the deal, which closed this morning after receiving unconditional clearance from the European Commission, sees VIMN take full control of the free-to-air broadcaster.
Channel 5’s Director of Programmes Ben Frow is staying with the broadcaster and will now report to David Lynn, Executive Vice-President and Managing Director of VIMN UK. Viacom also confirmed that Channel 5’s ad sales team will continue tell sell inventory for the broadcaster, with Channel 5’s Commercial Director of Sales Nick Bampton and COO Paul Dunthorne also reporting in to David Lynn.
Now under the Viacom umbrella, Channel 5 will, as expected, co-produce projects alongside VIMN’s other UK pay channels Comedy Central and MTV. The first two projects between Channel 5 and said channels are Nella the Knight, a co-production between Nickolodeon and C5 which is being developed for the channel’s Milkshake strand; and co-commission 10 000 BC, a 10 episode reality series which will air on Channel 5, while a 5 episode spin-off will air on MTV UK.
“Our ownership of Channel 5 will significantly increase Viacom’s investment in British creativity and content. We are committed to strengthening Channel 5’s status as one of UK broadcasting’s premier brands, and we will continue to grow the network’s pipeline of original programming with more quality commissions, as well as acquisitions”, said Philippe Dauman, President and CEO of Viacom. “The addition of Channel 5 will also benefit our existing UK pay television channel portfolio, as demonstrated by the announcement of our first two original programming commissions”.
While David Lynn, Executive Vice-President and Managing Director of Viacom International Media Networks UK, added: “Channel 5’s senior executive and sales teams continue to perform strongly and, with an innovative approach to commercial partnerships, have delivered great results. We look forward to working with the senior team and in-house sales staff to build on this success.”