Owner of U.K. Network Channel 5

Richard Desmond may raise $1.16 billion from deal

LONDON — Richard Desmond, the owner of U.K. free-to-air channel Channel 5, has asked advisers to look into the possible sale of the network, which could raise more than £700 million ($1.16 billion).

Barclays has been brought on board to explore the sale of the network, which Desmond bought for $171 million in 2010, according to a report in the Financial Times.

Among potential buyers are ITV, which is in expansionist mode, and Turner Broadcasting, whose international head, Gerhard Zeiler, was chief executive of European broadcasting group RTL, which sold Channel 5 to Desmond.

Desmond has slashed costs at Channel 5, shuffled the management and brought in popular shows like “Big Brother.” The network returned to operating profits with $34.1 million in the first half of 2013, compared with a $26.6 million loss a year earlier.

Desmond’s company Northern & Shell told the Financial Times: “As a media group with a broad portfolio of assets we are often the subject of speculation, but it remains our policy not to comment on these matters.”

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