Bike Channel confirms closure after failing to find a buyer

Specialist TV broadcaster Bike Channel ceases trading with six staff due to be made redundant and the channel taken off air

Cycling broadcaster the Bike Channel has ceased trading after failing to find a buyer, the company's administrators confirmed in a statement issued on Friday.

Bike Channel UK was launched in December 2015, and was owned by London-based company Bike Media Limited. Administrators are now seeking a buyer for the company's assets, and the six remaining staff will be made redundant.

"Bike Media has created a loyal following across a range of specialist cycling communities, but despite the growth in viewers to Bike Channel across broadcast networks, the business had faced pressure on working capital," read a statement issued by administrators FRP Advisory.

"Attempts to obtain new investment via a sale of the business did not materialize and, with unsustainable pressure on cash-flow, the directors were left with no viable option other than to seek the protection of administration."

"Upon their appointment on 8 September 2017, the joint administrators’ priority has been to assist staff with their timely claims to the Redundancy Payments Service. The joint administrators will seek to realise value from the assets in the interests of creditors."

Launched in the UK as the sister to a successful Italian equivalent, Bike Channel was the UK's first 24/7 TV station dedicated to the sport. The channel was broadcast on Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat.

Sources close to the business have said that following a financial review by Bike International, the parent company, Bike Channel was put up for sale. But concerted attempts to rescue the Vauxhall-based operation have failed.

In a statement, Aser, a minority shareholder, said: "Aser acquired a minority stake in Bike International Limited, owner of Bike Media UK Limited, which operates Bike's UK channel, in October 2015.

"It has been confirmed today that the company has been placed into administration.  This follows the resignation of its former CEO Filippo Ubaldini at the end of July 2017, who managed the company since its incorporation.

"We have been damaged and we will be taking legal action. As a creditor of the company we will also be seeking further information from administrators.

"Aser remains committed to our core businesses and we will continue to explore future involvement in cycling as part of our wider investment in sports, notwithstanding our deep regret at the outcome of this situation."

Bike Channel-Canyon team to continue

British team Bike Channel-Canyon's future was also thought to be hanging in the balance after it emerged on Thursday that the channel, one of the squad's main backers, was on the brink of folding. However, CW confirmed with team manager Tim Elverson that the squad would continue into 2018 despite the potential loss of the title sponsor.

The racing team is thought to have an annual budget of around £250,000, one of the smallest among Britain's UCI squads. Bike Channel came on board as the team was formed in December 2016 on a three-year sponsorship deal.

>>> Bike Channel-Canyon will continue to race in 2018 despite TV channel’s expected closure

CW understands that the team and Elverson were not aware of the extent of the financial problems experienced in recent months by Bike Channel.

Earlier this week at the Tour of Britain, Elverson told CW he had re-signed the team's sprinter Chris Opie to ride next year and had also signed deals with promising youngsters Charles Page and Louis Rose-Davies.

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