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BBC Worldwide Sells Off Print Mags to Focus on Digital

BBC Worldwide, the public broadcaster’s commercial wing, has agreed to sell its portfolio of magazines to private equity firm Exponent in a deal totaling about $200 million, or about £120 million.

Radio Times, olive and Gardens Illustrated were included in the sale, as well as rights to publish BBC-branded content like BBC Wildlife, Top Gear and Lonely Planet through licensing portions of the agreement. London-based Exponent owns Gorkana, a career site, and Richard Lenane of the firm said in a statement:

“Exponent invests exclusively in market-leading businesses which have strong growth potential and great people. We believe that BBC Magazines is such a business.”

In a statement annoucing the sale, BBC Worldwide CEO John Smith said the sell-off was strategic and that the company planned to shift focus to digital content as well as video after the sale was complete:

“The deal announced today offers the best prospects for the magazines business to continue on this path of success, while BBC Worldwide pursues a strategy increasingly focused on international video and digital services… The consumer magazines market faces a number of challenges, and this transaction brings a focus and degree of investment that BBC Worldwide alone is unable to provide.”

Earlier this month, BBC Magazines launched Good Food for iPad and indicated an increasing focus on digital content for the titles.