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25/05/2005

Four bidders through to next phase in sale of BBC Broadcast

The BBC has announced a shortlist of four bidders for the sale of BBC Broadcast Limited.
The four companies which have been selected to enter the final stage are Apax Partners, Exponent Private Equity, Macquarie Group and Thomson/Technicolor.
The BBC said that the selection followed an "extensive evaluation of bids from both financial and industry buyers".
Detailed negotiations will know be entered into with the four companies to determine the right partner for the BBC in delivering future services, whilst also offering the best possible opportunities for BBC Broadcast staff.
John Smith, BBC Chief Operating Officer and Executive Board project sponsor, commented: "These shortlisted companies have not only demonstrated an appreciation of the value of BBC Broadcast, but also impressed us with their future growth plans and how they will work in partnership with the BBC in the coming years."
Peter Phillips, Director, Business Development, who is leading the sale for the BBC, continued: "We have had serious interest from a wide range of private equity and trade buyers.
"The high standard of world-class creative, operational and technical services offered by BBC Broadcast, coupled with a talented management team, makes this a very attractive acquisition.
"We have continued support and commitment from BBC Broadcast's board and are on track to complete the sale by the end of the summer, subject to approvals.
"We are in regular dialogue with the Unions and have been consulting with them since the sale commenced at the beginning of the year."
BBC Broadcast is Europe's leading expert in the distribution and promotion of multimedia content and it offers a comprehensive range of services to playout, publish, promote and provide media access for content across all media, from television 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 that new owner 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.
The final sale is subject to approval of the BBC Governors and Executive Board and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
(SP)
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