The BBC today began the sale of its commercial subsidiary BBC Resources.
The move is being made as part of the Corporation's strategy to raise extra funds following a lower than expected licence fee settlement.
BBC Resources has an annual turnover of around £130m and employs 1100 staff. It is made up of three core divisions: BBC studios, BBC outside broadcasts and BBC post production.
It owns and operates broadcast trucks, studios, post-production suites and provides a costume and wigs service.
The sale is expected to fetch around £150m in total. It is expected to be completed by March 2008.
Exploit or export
The move comes after the Commercial Review Team concluded that the broadcaster should only own commercial businesses that either export or exploit the BBC brand or content.
It said that it was not necessary for the Corporation to own BBC Resources and that an alternative owner would provide new opportunities for growth.
The BBC Project Director who is leading the sale, Andrew Thornton, said: 'This is a unique opportunity for any potential bidder; it's not everyday such a treasure trove of outstanding expertise and skills comes on the market.
'We are looking for a partner that will nurture this and continue to work closely with us to provide the unrivalled quality of services we need, as well as to capitalise on this in the wider industry.'
Subject to approval
The sale is subject to approval from the BBC Executive Board and the BBC Trust and the Corporation is in consultation with unions.
Mike Southgate, chief executive of BBC Resources, said: 'BBC Resources is full of talent, with a world-class reputation for understanding production values and programme making, both at the BBC and across the media marketplace.
'Taking our BBC heritage, the sale offers us the chance to grow the business and continue to lead the rapid changes taking place.'
The BBC has already sold off other commercial subsidiaries including BBC Broadcast and BBC Technology.