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BBC completes OB sale

3 April 2008

The BBC announced this week that it has completed the sale of the Outside Broadcasts division of its wholly-owned commercial subsidiary, BBC Resources Ltd, to Satellite Information Services Ltd, with approval for the sale coming from both the BBC’s Executive Board and the BBC Trust.

The business and staff of BBC Outside Broadcasts will transfer to SIS with effect from 1 April 2008.

One of the UK’s leading providers of outside broadcast production facilities and services, BBC Outside Broadcasts operates a large fleet of television production units plus sound, support and communications vehicles and award-winning special cameras. The business supports events ranging from music festivals, drama productions and major state occasions, to Wimbledon, the Olympics and World Cup football.

Under SIS ownership, Outside Broadcasts will continue to provide services to the BBC and other customers.

Andy Thornton, project director, BBC, said: “This deal offers us the stability and security of an ongoing relationship, coupled with SIS’ commitment to driving innovation and investment. Both are vital as we seek to remain relevant and indispensable to our diverse and fast-changing audience.”

SIS Chief Executive, David Holdgate, commented: “The chance to acquire something of the size, range and impeccable reputation of BBC Outside Broadcasts is almost a once in a lifetime opportunity, and one that we were determined not to miss out on. As well as ongoing relationships with the BBC, we look forward to developing new business across the industry.

“We have bought a business that has fantastic assets in its people, reputation and range of output, and we have substantial plans in place to match that with a modernised equipment fleet, to take advantage of market opportunities,” he continued.

As well as delivering a good deal for the BBC, SIS has also given Outside Broadcasts’ staff what a press release terms as “assurances on pensions, and terms and conditions.”

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