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Channel 4 could be privatised ‘as soon as next year’

Options are said to include an outright sale, a partial offloading of the government's stake or a mutual ownership model

The UK government is reportedly looking at bringing forward its plans to sell-off Channel 4 to as early as next year.

Culture minister Oliver Dowden had previously told parliament the broadcaster could be sold by the end of the current parliament to “provide a sustainable future for the broadcaster”.

At the time, he said the popularity of Netflix, Amazon and Disney Plus means changes to the UK’s broadcasting landscape are needed.

However, the FT reports those plans could now be brought forward with the government planning to launch a formal consultation into the broadcaster’s privatisation within weeks.

It suggests the government is aiming to pass legislation by the end of 2022, with options including an outright sale, a partial offloading of the government’s stake or a mutual ownership model.

The consultation will be overseen by John Whittingdale, the culture minister with responsibility for broadcast policy. He has calling for the broadcaster to be privatised in 1996.