April 30 (Reuters) - British media baron Richard Desmond will announce that he is selling free-to-air TV broadcaster Channel 5 to U.S.-based Viacom Inc for up to 450 million pounds ($760 million), The Guardian reported On Wednesday, without citing sources.
Viacom, which owns cable networks such as MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, is also expected to announce the deal on Thursday when it reports its financial results, the paper said on its website. (link.reuters.com/fac98v)
Channel 5, which broadcasts “Big Brother,” was bought by Desmond’s Northern & Shell media group in 2010 for 103.5 million pounds.
Northern & Shell could not be contacted outside of regular business hours, while Viacom declined to comment.
Media reports said in January Desmond was expecting to raise about 700 million pounds through the sale of the television network and had hired Barclays to look for buyers.
The sale had reportedly drawn interest from more than 20 potential buyers, including Viacom, Discovery Communications , Scripps Networks and British Sky Broadcasting Group. ($1 = 0.5922 British Pounds) (Reporting by Richa Naidu in Bangalore; Editing by Richard Chang)