BBC Worldwide's 50% shareholding in Indian joint venture, Worldwide Media, is being sold to The Times Of India owner Bennett, Coleman and Co. Worldwide Media publishes titles including the Indian editions of BBC’s Grazia, Hello, Top Gear and Lonely Planet.
BBC staff was informed of the sale earlier today in an email from BBC Worldwide chief executive John Smith who said: "I believe that the deal with Exponent offers the best prospects for BBC Magazines to continue on the path of success. This transaction brings a focus and degree of investment that BBC Worldwide alone is unable to provide. We believe this will put BBC Magazines in the strongest position to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in a rapidly evolving market."
Tarun Rai, cheif executive officer, Worldwide Media said, "Our association with BBC Worldwide will continue through the BBC titles we publish - Top Gear, Lonely Planet and Knowledge. The last five years with BBC Worldwide have been extremely fruitful. We have today a very talented team and a diverse portfolio of magazines."
In a separate sell-off, the BBC Worldwide has sold its consumer magazines division via a licensing and sales agreement to a UK-based private equity firm Exponent. The deal will have over 30 magazines published by BBC Magazines move to Exponent. Although for key BBC brands, such as the magazines for Top Gear as well as Lonely Planet and Good Food, the new Exponent-owned business will act as a contract publisher. Overall, the deal is expected to raise $200 million for BBC.