Channel 4 and the BBC are currently in talks over the possible joint bid for UKTV, owner of channels including Gold and Dave.

UKTV is currently owned by both BBC Worldwide and Discovery, which both have a 50 percent stake in the broadcaster.

Profits at the broadcaster have soared from £29 million to over £90 million in the past eight years. While the channels often replay BBC programs, the broadcaster also commissions its own programming, including the show Taskmaster.

Programs including Storage Hunters UK Celebrity Special have helped UKTV to impressive results and the group overtook the TV ad market share of Sky’s own channels and Channel 5 for the first time in 2016.

Darren Childs, chief executive of UKTV said about the growth in profits: “Double digit growth is a tough goal.”

“But we’ve achieved that in profit, revenue and importantly in investment in our programmes. That’s helping our reputation as a credible and successful investor in creativity go from strength-to-strength.”

UKTV pays the BBC Worldwide £54 million every year for the rights to many BBC shows including Top Gear.

BBC Worldwide cannot buy out Discovery’s 50 percent stake alone and is understood to be approaching Channel 4 to partner up in the venture.

Buying UKTV would be of strategic importance to Channel 4 as it handles the £225 million-a-year ad sales contract for the broadcaster.

BBC Worldwide initially owned UKTV with Thames Television, however, Discovery inherited the £500 million stake when it took over Scripps Networks in a $12 billion (£9 billion) deal in 2017. 

BBC Worldwide was linked to a takeover of UKTV last year, however, said that the reports were “speculation”.

Channel 4, UKTV and the BBC have not commented.