Viacom, which owns cable channels
Several other U.S. media companies had been interested in Channel 5, which launched in 1997 as Britain's fifth public broadcasting service.
The channel notches more than 42 million viewers a month. It airs such shows as "
“The acquisition of Channel 5 accelerates Viacom’s strategy in the U.K., one of the world’s most important and valuable media markets,” Viacom Chief Executive
"We believe we will be able to invest in even more programming for Channel 5," Dauman told analysts Thursday morning on a conference call to discuss Viacom earnings. He said Viacom would pay cash for the channel.
The deal is subject to regulatory approvals.
Channel 5 Broadcasting, currently held by Northern & Shell Media Group, also includes a children's programming service called Milkshake! The service, which airs a morning block of programming with such characters as Peppa Pig, should benefit from Viacom's stable of Nickelodeon characters.
Viacom, which is controlled by mogul
Desmond's Northern & Shell bought the channel about four years ago for 103 million pounds (roughly $150 million). Northern & Shell is selling the channel for more than four times that amount.
"Since Northern & Shell's acquisition of Channel 5 in 2010, the financial and operating performance of the business has been transformed with improved audiences and content offering," Paul Dunthorne, chief operating officer of Channel 5, said in a statement announcing the channel's sale.