[This post has been updated]Following a review of BBC Worldwide's operations last year, the BBC Trust has said that the BBC can explore the sale of all or part of its magazine division. It includes such large and well-known titles as Radio Times (the most profitable publication in the group), Top Gear and Lonely Planet and last year made a profit of £18.4 million.
The BBC has already sold its audiobooks division as part of the review, which concluded that BBC Worldwide needed to be more internationally focussed and needed to shed some of its domestic operations, according to a story on the BBC News site.
"The Trust has agreed that Worldwide can explore with the market options for the future of its magazines business, as long as it does so without making any binding commitment at this stage," the BBC Trust said in a statement.
"The Trust's focus will be on delivering the best deal for licence fee payers and any specific proposal would require our formal regulatory clearance."
According to the story, some 30 potential bidders have expressed an interest in buying a stake in the titles. There would be restrictions on a sale because it depends on approval by competition authorities. And, for a title like Radio Times -- both a magazine and a BBC program guide -- any deal would depend on assurances about content, since the magazine is a crucial promoter of BBC programs, services and products.
BBC Worldwide publishes several magazines that circulate in Canada including BBC Music Magazine, BBC Sky at Night, BBC Focus, Homes & Antiques, Top Gear, BBC History Magazine and BBC Knowledge.
- BBC Worldwide says profits up 35.5% last year; magazine division holds its own
- BBC may sell off some of its magazines, partner on others