Channel 4 could buy UKTV stake

Move would chip away at budget deficit

LONDON -- A Channel 4 purchase of Virgin Media's 50% stake in the UKTV channels it owns with the BBC is the latest suggestion being floated to meet Channel 4's impending budget deficit.

Channel 4 is expected to need 150 million pounds ($206.4 million) a year to balance its books by 2012 and is looking at a range of partnerships with the BBC's commercial division as a possible solution.

The option is one among a number being evaluated, but the price tag of Virgin's 56% stake in the partnership could be as much as 450 million pounds ($623,5 million), according to reports.