BBC Magazines in 'talks with Bauer as two companies in sale running'

BBC Worldwide has narrowed its hunt for a buyer for its magazine business down to two companies, according to a report this morning.

One of those in the running, according to The Guardian, is Bauer Media, which it claims is considered to be the favourite to become the new owner of magazines such as the Radio Times.

A second report today, by Media Week, claims Bauer Media and H Bauer entered into an ‘unprecedented alliance to pitch for BBC Worldwide’s commercial magazine business”.

That report said the two publishers, which are both owned by Bauer Publishing Group in Germany, had entered joint talks with the BBC.

Executives at BBC Magazines said last week that after a huge amount of interest it had been talking to a number of parties and it hoped to complete the sale process by the summer.

This latest development in the move to sell off the BBC’s magazines comes little over a month after a report suggested that the commercial wing of the corporation was planning to retain ownership and control over a number of leading titles.

Sources told the Daily Telegraph the BBC proposed dividing its titles into three blocks; one of which would be sold, including titles like the Radio Times; another would see BBC branded magazines licensed to a rival publisher for ten years.

A third block would see titles tied to popular brands, like Top Gear, produced under a contract-publishing deal with the corporation maintaining ownership while a new publishing board would be formed to take decisions.

Last year, it was understood that the corporation’s preferred course of action was to sell its magazine business to a single publisher by forming a new business with the partner organisation taking an 85 per cent majority share.

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