RTL reportedly eyeing Channel 4 bid

U.K. broadcaster faces $230 mil funding gap

LONDON -- Pan-European broadcaster RTL Group declined comment on speculation it is looking again at a bid for Britain's Channel 4, the government-owned British broadcaster that is facing funding difficulties.

RTL is reported to have hired JPMorgan to look at options relating to a possible Channel 4 acquisition, which could be valued at in excess of 500 million euros ($765,000).

RTL, which owns or part-owns 42 TV networks in 10 European countries, could merge Channel 4 with RTL's channel Five in the U.K.

Channel 4, which until now has relied solely on advertising revenue, has told the government it is facing a 150 million  euro ($230 million) per year funding gap that will have to be met by public support.

Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan last week rejected a package of technology and facilities sharing offers from the BBC, including the use of the BBC iPlayer service, saying he saw "no tangible benefits" in the package.