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27/06/2005

Australian consortium Creative Broadcast Services agree to buy BBC Broadcast division

A contract has been signed with an Australian consortium, 'Creative Broadcast Services' to purchase BBC Broadcast in a deal put at £166 million that includes a year-long set of "assurances" including a moratorium on jobs losses.
The BBC announced that "following an extensive and rigorous evaluation of final bids from financial and industry buyers," the consortium backed by Macquarie Capital Alliance Group and Macquarie Bank, owning 65% and 35% respectively, will be the new owners of the BBC's Broadcast division.
According to the BBC, as well as delivering "the best deal," Creative Broadcast Services had given assurances on pensions, terms and conditions for staff in BBC Broadcast.
BBC Chief Operating Officer and Executive Board sponsor for the deal, John Smith, said: "Creative Broadcast Services made the BBC a great offer and showed real capabilities in managing a contractual long-term partnership with a commitment to growing and investing in the business."
Commenting on the deal, the Managing Director of BBC Broadcast, Pam Masters, said: "I am delighted with the BBC's decision for Creative Broadcast Services to acquire BBC Broadcast. The Board and I have built this company from an internal BBC department through incorporation and three successful years of trading under BBC ownership.
"It is now time for the business to flourish under new ownership with increased investment. We feel confident the decision is right for our business and our staff, and I look forward to working with them to fulfil the potential of this fantastic business."
The sale follows on from an internal review of the Corporation's 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 said that the Corporation believed that under the new ownership of Creative Broadcast Services and the commitment to a long-term partnership would mean that the strong relationship it has built up with BBC Broadcast could be continued during the on-going contract.
Macquarie Capital Alliance Group CEO Michael Cook said: "BBC Broadcast has state-of-the-art facilities and services delivered by very talented people and is in a strong position to take advantage of growing opportunities in Europe as well as developing demand from new communication media. The BBC Broadcast management team has extensive experience and strong industry relationships across all aspects of the business."
BBC Broadcast has two recognised unions, Bectu and the NUJ, and a one-day strike earlier this year over jobs cuts by the BBC was called off after management gave assurances that there would be no compulsory redundancies for a period of one year.
Specialists in the delivery and promotion of digital media, BBC Broadcast offers the complete range of services required to promote, playout and provide access to broadcast content across all media, from television to mobile phones.
While completion of the sale is subject to approval from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, BBC Broadcast is expected to transfer into new ownership in the next few months.
(SP)
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