Radio Times October

The six non-BBC branded titles being sold includes the Radio Times, Olive and Gardens Illustrated

The purchase of six BBC Worldwide magazines by Exponent Private Equity will be completed on 31 October, following clearance of the sale by the Office of Fair Trading earlier this week.

In a release BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the broadcaster, confirmed that this transaction, along with the sale of BBC Worldwide's shareholding in Worldwide Media to a fellow shareholder, will generate £121 million to be returned to the BBC.

The six non-BBC branded titles being sold includes the
Radio Times, Olive and Gardens Illustrated. As well as the sale of these titles Exponent will also receive long-term publishing licences for titles including Gardeners' World and BBC Wildlife, as well as contracts to publish a further four publications "with BBCW maintaining a strong editorial interest."

Meanwhile Exponent today announced the creation of Immediate Media, which will be the new publisher of the BBC titles and fully operational from 1 November.

Managing director of BBC Magazines, Peter Phippen, has been named as deputy chairman of Immediate Media and according to a release "will play an important role in developing the new business".

Staff from BBC Magazines in London and Bristol will become part of Immediate Media as of 1 November under the terms of the deal, the release adds.

"London-based staff will move to the new premises in 2012. Staff based at BBC Magazines in Bristol and Origin Publishing will remain at Tower House, Bristol."

The acquisition agreement was announced by the BBC in August after receiving approval from the BBC Trust. Today John Smith, chief executive of BBC Worldwide, said the broadcaster will maintain "a close link" with the new owners.

"With completion imminent, I would like to acknowledge, with gratitude, everything that has been achieved in BBC Magazines.

"Building on a heritage dating back to Radio Times' first edition in 1923, the titles remain synonymous with the highest quality journalism along with expertise in, and a passion for, their subject areas.

"We will retain a close link with the new owners following the transaction, which I believe offers the best prospects for the business in the future."

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