The future of Five will reportedly be settled on Friday when the broadcaster’s parent company RTL will decide which bidder to advance to exclusive negotiations.
A meeting on the sale will be held at the end of this week between key executives, including Five chief executive Dawn Airey and RTL chief executive Gerhard Zeiler, reports The Guardian.
They will decide which of the three final bids, including a proposal from Daily Express owner Richard Desmond, should be pursued for a sale of the loss-making Five.
Desmond’s £100m bid is understood to be the highest offer currently on the table, while he would also pose the least regulatory issues for a quick sale.
Channel 4 and US media giant NBC Universal are also thought to be in the running, but they have not made as attractive proposals for Five.
Desmond, who currently operates the Television X and Red Hot TV adult channels via his Portland TV business, has publicly made it clear that he has £1bn to spend on acquisitions.
Speaking about the media baron, one insider said: “Whatever you think of him, he does have an ability to take brands that are slightly underperforming and do something with them.
“He sweats celebrity interviews and makes money out of them.”
The sale could be agreed on Friday if the board is able to ratify its decision, but it could take several weeks before the deal is actually completed.