BBC mulls sale of magazine division

The BBC is believed to be considering the sale of its magazine division as pressure on the corporation to curb its money making activities grows.

BBC

The division, which produces 50 titles including Radio Times, Gardeners World and Top Gear magazine, is the fourth biggest publisher in Britain and sells about 85m copies of its magazines a year.

The move comes as pressure mounts on the BBC to reduce its commercial activities. In a report on the UK film and television industries, a House of Lords committee has called on the BBC to sell a stake in commercial arm BBC Worldwide.

The Committee says further expansion would carry reputational risks. It adds a lesser stake would allow enable BBC Worldwide to become a major global distributor of British programming.

BBC Worldwide has been criticised by its broadcasting rivals and MPs over its commercial ambitions

Last November, Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust, demanded it curb its acquisitions activity , such as the 75% stake it bought in travel guide Lonely Planet, and align its activities under the BBC banner.

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