Creative Broadcast Services was selected as the preferred bidder at the end of June beating short-listed bids from Greg Dyke-advised Apax Partners, Thomson Technicolor and Exponent Private Equity.
Key areas that Creative Broadcast Services will takeover include playout, design and branding, subtitling and signing, and the increasingly important interactive and video-on-demand services (video via broadband and mobile phone). It will also pick up around 1,000 staff. The new owners have agreed to make no compulsory redundancies for one year and has committed to providing comparable pensions to the BBC Broadcast employees.
The approval marks the second large chunk of the BBC to be sold to a foreign investor in the last year. BBC Technology was sold to German engineering company Siemens in October 2004. BBC sources expect the BBC Broadcast deal to complete this Sunday (31 July).
The BBC Broadcast business, which runs the playout contracts for all BBC channels, will only be able to trade using the corporation's name for three months after handover to Creative Broadcast Services Ltd - the company formed by successful bidders Macquarie Capital Alliance Group and Macquarie Bank Ltd.
Meanwhile, the sale of BBC Resources, which includes the Corporation's outside broadcast division and post production facilities, was put on hold until July 2007 following trade union pressure in June.