Television

BBC Broadcast sale enters next phase

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MUMBAI: The BBC has launched, on Thursday, the next stage of the sale process for its commercial subsidiary BBC Broadcast Ltd ("BBC Broadcast"). The sale is subject to the final approval of the BBC Governors and Executive Board and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Eighteen organisations, buyers from both finance and industry, are being taken through to the next round. The list of financial bidders includes - Advent International, Apax Partners Worldwide LLP, Bank of Scotland Corporate, Barclays Pvt Equity, Bridgepoint, Exponent Pvt Equity, HgCapital, Kleinwort Capital LTD, Montagu Pvt Equity, Palamon Capital Partners LP and The Carlyle Group.

BBC business development director Peter Phillips was quotd by international media reports as saying, "We were really impressed with both the number and quality of companies expressing a serious interest in buying BBC Broadcast.

"We will shortly be beginning a rigorous evaluation of the 18 bidders, including assessing their effectiveness as long term business partners of the BBC and their cultural fit, to produce a shortlist towards the end of May."

BBC Broadcast is Europe's leading expert in the distribution and promotion of multimedia content and it offers a comprehensive range of services to play-out, publish, promote and provide media access for content across all media, from TV to mobile phones.

The sale follows on from the corporation's internal review of its commercial businesses. The review team concluded that, whilst the services provided by BBC Broadcast are vital to the BBC, they did not necessarily need to remain owned by the BBC.

The BBC believes that the combination of a new commercial owner and a partnership approach with the successful bidder will mean that the BBC can continue the strong relationship it has built up with BBC Broadcast.

A new owner will provide the business with opportunities for growth which are not available whilst it is owned by the BBC, but with the stability of an on-going contract in place with the BBC.

It is expected that the sale of BBC Broadcast and its management and staff to the successful bidder will take place by the end of the summer, subject to contract negotiations and regulatory approvals.

The BBC will be in full consultation with unions throughout the sale process.

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