Oz Group Buys BBC Multimedia Arm

27 June 2005

The UK's state-funded broadcaster, the BBC, has sold its multimedia division to an Australian consortium for £166 million ($302m; €250m).

BBC Broadcast, which handles channel promotion and branding, subtitling and playing-out - the process of broadcasting a channel - has been bought by Creative Broadcast Services, a joint venture between investment fund Macquarie Capital Alliance and Macquarie Bank.

The deal has to be approved by the government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The BBC put up the for sale notice following an internal review of its commercial businesses at the end of last year. Broadcast's operating profits in 2004 were £7m on sales of £109m.

The division has an exclusive contract to provide the BBC with playout and other services up to the end of 2015, ensuring contracted revenues of more than £500m over the period.

The division employs around 1,100 people and the new owners have agreed a moratorium on compulsory job cuts. The corporation is currently in dispute with its unions over 3,800 job losses planned to free up £355m for investment in new programming.

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff