The sale of BBC Worldwide is one option being explored as part of a review of the BBC's commercial operation ordered by new chairman Michael Grade and director general Mark Thompson.
The sale of BBC Worldwide is one option being explored as part of a review of the BBC's commercial operation ordered by new chairman Michael Grade and director general Mark Thompson.

Today the Financial Times reports that the BBC has brought in a panel of experts to advise it, including Anthony Fry, the new head of UK investment banking at Lehman Brothers, and Lord Inglewood, the Tory MEP.

The sale of BBC Worldwide could make the BBC up to £1billion, but the argument employed against such a move in the past has been that over time it would mean less revenue coming from the exploitation of BBC brands back into programme making.

The Financial Times reports the panel is considering breaking up of the commercial arm, which includes numerous businesses including magazine publishing and channel management.

Other strategies such as outsourcing and restructuring parts of BBC Worldwide are also believed to be under consideration.

The sale of BBC Worldwide, which owns channels such as BBC America and BBC Prime and publishes magazines such as Radio Times and Gardeners' World , would remove a difficult political issue for the corporation which is regularly accused of treading on commercial media companies' toes.

Thompson has already warned that the BBC will need to tighten its belt.

On taking the DG role earlier this month he told the corporation's 28,000 staff: "The financial picture is tight? this year the BBC is spending more than its income. As we are now in debt we need to keep a very careful control on cash - we cannot risk exceeding our statutory borrowing limit."