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Rediff.com  » Business » BBC to sell sales and publishing arm

BBC to sell sales and publishing arm

September 08, 2004 17:36 IST

The BBC has invited Time Warner, Walt Disney and Berteismann to discuss possible bids for BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial sales and publishing arm.

BBC executives believe the Worldwide division, which generated free cash-flow of £141 million in 12 months to March 31, could be worth up to £2 billion, The Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

Executives from the world's three of the largest media groups are to hold talks with the BBC in the coming weeks over assets including the BBC America and BBC Prime channels, along with 26 magazine titles, merchandising operations and the broadcaster's overseas programme sale unit.

The publicly-funded UK broadcaster is considering the move as part of an internal review, timed to coincide with a government study of the BBC's funding and public service remit.

The internal review followed an inquiry into a BBC report which alleged that the Tony Blair government had 'sexed up' pre-war intelligence on Iraq's weapon of mass destruction.

The Hutton report had accused the BBC of lax editorial mangement which forced its then director Greg Dyke to resign in January.

According to the report, John Smith, the BBC's chief operating officer and finance director, on Tuesday met the top 100 executives of Worldwide which employs 2,200 people to discuss options.

He was told that profits could double to more than £70 million in the medium term as the business exploits growing international demand for BBC programming and merchandise.

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