Newspaper tycoon Richard Desmond has bought Five from the entertainment network RTL for an estimated 125m Euros.

The deal for the mogul’s company Northern and Shell – which owns newspapers including the Express and the Daily Star as well as OK! Magazine – has been closed with immediate effect.

Previous owners RTL said that a recovery in the TV advertising market meant that now was a good time to sell the group.

“I am delighted to have taken ownership of the network, and know with the right investment, drive and leadership it can go from strength to strength as a competitive broadcaster and a modern player for the digital consumer,” Desmond said in a statement.

Five chief Dawn Airey added that she was “looking forward” to working with the network’s new owners.

“Northern & Shell are an international media business with a prominent position in the UK.

“We now move forward under the ownership of a successful media company that wants to grow our business and has exciting plans for the development of Five.”

The channel, which launched in 1997, is currently home to Australian soaps including Neighbours and Home And Away, which it picked up from the BBC and ITV respectively.

It also shows several hit US shows including CSI, Grey’s Anatomy and House.