The BBC has announced that the process for the sale of its commercial subsidiary BBC Resources Ltd. has begun. The sale is subject to the necessary approvals by the BBC’s Executive Board and the BBC Trust.
BBC Resources is a provider of broadcast production facilities and services, and consists of three divisions: BBC Outside Broadcasts, BBC Studios and BBC Post Production. The sale comes as a result of the Commercial Review whereby the corporation reviewed all its commercial businesses.
The Commercial Review team concluded that the BBC should only own commercial businesses that either export or exploit the BBC brand or content. While the services provided by BBC Resources are vital to the BBC, they do not need to be owned by the corporation anymore.
[As part of the same divestiture agenda, the BBC has sold BBC Broadcast Ltd. to Macquarie in 2005, which rebranded the company as Red Bee Media.]
The BBC believes that the combination of BBC Resources under new commercial ownership and a continued partnership with the BBC will mean the corporation can leverage its strong relationship and heritage with BBC Resources.
“We are committed to getting the best value for the BBC and license fee payers, whilst putting staff interests at the heart of the process,” said John Smith, chief executive of BBC Worldwide and BBC Board Sponsor for the sale.
BBC Project Director Andrew Thornton, who is leading the sale, commented: “This is a unique opportunity for any potential bidder; it’s not everyday such a treasure trove of outstanding expertise and skills comes on the market. We are looking for a partner that will nurture this and continue to work closely with us to provide the unrivalled quality of services we need, as well as to capitalize on this in the wider industry.”
Mike Southgate, chief executive of BBC Resources, said: “BBC Resources is full of talent, with a world-class reputation for understanding production values and programmaking, both at the BBC and across the media marketplace. Taking our BBC heritage, the sale offers us the chance to grow the business and continue to lead the rapid changes taking place.”
It is expected that the sale of the business and transfer of BBC Resources staff to the successful bidder will take place by the end of March 2008, subject to contract negotiations and approvals.