Warner Bros. Discovery has exited its £60M ($72M) shareholding in fledgling UK news channel GB News, having been bought out by existing backers Legatum Ventures Limited and Sir Paul Marshall.
A statement in the past few minutes from David Zaslav’s conglomerate said that, following the merger of Warner Bros and Discovery, the company had “evaluated our global and local investment portfolio” and is no longer a GB News shareholder.
Warner Bros. Discovery already owns the likes of CNN Worldwide, Poland’s TVN Group and New Zealand’s Newshub.
The statement added: “Discovery was one of the first organisations to invest in GB News, doing so prior to the creation of Warner Bros. Discovery. GB News has built a growing and loyal audience in its first year, bringing another voice to British news broadcasting, and we wish the management and shareholders the very best in their future endeavours.”
Warner Bros. Discovery’s shareholding has been bought out by Marshall and Legatum, which Legatum Chair Alan McCormick said is “testament to our confidence in the momentum and trajectory of GB News after a very strong first year.”
GB News CEO Angelos Frangopoulos thanked Warner Bros. Discovery for “seeing the importance of a new voice in British news broadcasting.”
He unveiled a trio of presenters: The Telegraph Associate Editor Camilla Tominey, former politician-turned-docs-host Michael Portillo and broadcaster Andrew Pierce, the latter two of which will launch their own shows.
GB News rolled out last year as the brainchild of British broadcasting heavyweight Andrew Neil but Neil had exited within a few weeks, citing unsolvable differences with the channel’s other execs. Neil, who has since launched a show on Channel 4, described GB News last November as a “UKIP tribute band” that could “fall into irrelevance and obscurity.”
Although recently improving for Nigel Farage’s flagship evening show, GB News’ ratings have been broadly low, well shy of rivals BBC News and Sky News. A new competitor, Rupert Murdoch’s Talk TV, also launched recently to up the ante.