BBC Promises Not to Sell Production Unit Before June 2007

31 May 2005

Plans by the BBC, Britain's state-owned broadcasting behemoth, to sell its post-production and studios subsidiary, BBC Resources, have been put on ice for two years in a deal with unions reached over the holiday weekend.

The concession was one of several made to the corporation's three main unions - Amicus, BECTU and the National Union of Journalists - in discussions over a draconian cost-slashing program designed to appease the BBC's commercial and political critics.

The BBC announced after its meeting with the unions that it is still reviewing the options for BBC Resources and that no decision to sell has yet been taken. The exhalation of relief from the 1,200 staff employed at the unit, could be heard from the far side of the English channel.

BBC Resources is the largest post-production facility in Europe. In the year ended March 31 it generated revenues of over £128 million ($233.30m; €185.63m) and a pretax profit of £4m. Press speculation is that a sale could raise over £100 million.

The sale moratorium has defused the immediate threat of further strikes by BBC staff, as has the corporation's undertaking that there will be no compulsory redundancies. It has initially said there would be mandatory job losses as of November.

No binding deal has been struck with the unions and discussions continue.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff