BBC looks for private equity partner

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the UK state-owned broadcaster, is planning to work with private equity to invest in media production, publishing and intellectual properties assets.

It is reported that John Smith, chief executive of BBC Worldwide, has held talks with buyout groups in recent months.

The report added that BBC Worldwide has previously shown an interest in Entertainment Rights, an intellectual property group which owns brands such as Postman Pat, Rupert Bear and He-Man, but decided against an approach.

If the BBC were to partner with a private equity house, it would be unlikely to acquire more than a 49% stake in any asset as private equity firms generally prefer to take control positions.