Morning Media Newsfeed: Oprah Eyes Clippers | Viacom to Buy Channel 5 | Time Warner Profits Soar

[emailonly]{{{ sbox300x250 }}}[/emailonly] Click here to receive Mediabistro’s Morning Media Newsfeed via email.

Oprah Considering Los Angeles Clippers Bid (ESPN)
Oprah Winfrey, David Geffen and Larry Ellison will join together in a bid to buy the Los Angeles Clippers if the NBA’s board of governors votes to force Donald Sterling to sell the team, Geffen said Wednesday. FishbowlNY Others interested in buying the Clippers include Diddy (he even created his own hashtag #DiddyBuyTheClippers) and Floyd Mayweather. THR The OWN Network founder would pair with music mogul Geffen and Oracle co-founder Ellison in an investor role. On Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver pledged to force the sale of the Clippers after audio recordings of racist remarks made by owner Donald Sterling surfaced on TMZ days earlier. Sterling, who has owned the Clippers franchise since 1981, faces a ban from attending all NBA games as well as making any business decisions for the team. LA Times / Sports Now Winfrey, in reference to Sterling’s comments, told TMZ on Tuesday that “the plantation days are over.” She also denied having interest in purchasing the team on her own. However, Winfrey’s spokesperson, Nicole Nichols, issued a statement Wednesday confirming that she’s in talks about becoming an investor. Reuters The advisory finance committee of the NBA’s governing board scheduled a meeting for Thursday to review the next steps for forcing a sale of the Clippers, as urged on Tuesday by NBA commissioner Adam Silver, a league spokeswoman said. Sterling, who bought the Clippers in 1981 for $13 million when the team was based in San Diego, has not indicated whether he would relinquish ownership without a fight. Experts have estimated that the franchise, which moved to Los Angeles in 1984, could now be worth as much as $800 million.

Richard Desmond to Announce Sale of Channel 5 to U.S. Broadcaster Viacom (The Guardian)
Richard Desmond has sold the U.K.’s Channel 5 to Viacom, the U.S. broadcaster that owns MTV, for £450 million. WSJ Viacom will buy all of the British broadcaster’s brands and assets from Northern & Shell Media Group — which is owned by Desmond — and the acquisition is expected to immediately add to earnings, the company said. The disclosure was made as Viacom also posted higher earnings and revenue for the first three months of the year. Bloomberg Channel 5, which airs shows including Britain’s Crime Capitals and Celebrity Big Brother, will further Viacom’s international expansion with an English-speaking outlet for its U.S. television programming. Desmond initially sought more than £700 million for the station. He also considered an initial public offering instead of selling, people familiar with the plan said. Variety Viacom is the first American group to control a free-to-air broadcaster in the U.K. It already operates 20 pay TV channels in the territory, including MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. Reuters The sale had reportedly drawn interest from more than 20 potential buyers, including Discovery Communications, Scripps Networks and British Sky Broadcasting Group.

Time Warner’s Profit Rises on Strength in Film Unit (NYT)
Time Warner reported on Wednesday that its first-quarter profit increased 71 percent, thanks largely to the successes of the Warner Bros. studio and Home Box Office. Variety Time Warner said the performance of two movies — The Lego Movie and 300: Rise of An Empire — helped the company increase its profit, while revenue increased at its three major divisions, the Warner Brothers studio, the Turner programming unit and HBO. WSJ Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said Wednesday that the company’s big TNT cable channel hadn’t taken “enough creative risk with its programming” in recent years and as a result had “lost ground with younger viewers,” an issue he said was now being addressed. The performance of Turner is vital for Time Warner, accounting for nearly half the company’s profit, in the wake of spinoffs of various businesses including Time Warner Cable, AOL and the pending divestiture of Time Inc. Bewkes’ comments are a rare acknowledgment of ratings challenges faced by some Turner networks. TNT’s prime-time viewership among adults 18 to 49 — an audience that advertisers pay a premium to reach — fell about 9 percent in the 12 months ending March 30. THR Bewkes said changes at the networks have been put in place, but will take time. Bewkes expects to grow Time Warner’s adjusted operating earnings at least in the low to mid t‎een percentage range for at least the next three or four years. He also predicted that the box-office success of The Lego Movie could create an “evergreen” film franchise.