BBC Worldwide looks to PE

BBC Worldwide has started discussions with private equity groups regarding a joint bid for Virgin Media Television.

BBC Worldwide, the commercial subsidiary of the BBC, has begun talking to groups including Cinven, Providence Equity Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) regarding a bid for Virgin Media Television.

Virgin Media Television’s parent company, Virgin Media, has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to advise on a strategic review of the US-listed cable media group’s content division that is expected to lead to a sale.

Virgin Media Television owns a 50% stake in UKTV, the digital television channel in which the BBC owns the other half.

BBC Worldwide is understood to have hired investment bank Credit Suisse to advise on the discussions with the private equity firms. Analysts believe that Virgin Media’s stake in UKTV accounts for most of Virgin Media Television’s £800m (€1.01bn) mooted valuation.

The channels show programmes such as Planet Earth, Casualty, and Spooks.