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.