Five May Buy Flextech

Jane Lightning, speaking at a Royal Television Society event last night, dropped an unsubtle hint that Five are considering buying Flextech, the content arm of Telewest.

While the rest of the industry is still speculating about the proposed merger with Channel 4, Lightning, Five’s chief executive said “Flextech could be one of the options we are looking at.”

Well, it either is one of the options they’re looking at or it isn’t. I’ll fetch my deerstalker, pipe and magnifying glass for a second and say that they most definitely are looking at it, otherwise she wouldn’t have mentioned it in the first place. Oh, and it’s rumoured that Five execs paid a visit to Bill Huff, the fund manager who holds 20% of Telewest, in March.

Flextech would bring Bravo, Challenge, Living, Trouble and the half of UKTV that isn’t owned by BBC Worldwide.

With C4, Sony US and Disney also sniffing after Flextech, they’d better get a move on.

Telewest are keen to sell the company to get out of debt and concentrate on its upcoming marriage to NTL, and are looking for about UK£750 million (€1.1 billion) for it.


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?