BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, has selected private equity firm Exponent as the preferred partner for BBC Magazines. Exponent, which runs media job alerts service `Gorkana', was selected following a competitive tender process that started in 2010.
The private equity firm, selected in the £100 million auction process, will be in exclusive negotiations for 34 magazine titles, including Top Gear, Radio Times, BBC Good Food, Bob the Builder and Gardeners' World.
BBC World claims to be the UK's fourth largest publisher in terms of circulation and the third largest in terms of retail sales value, with over 82 million copies sold in the past year.
BBC Magazines also has joint venture publishing partnerships in India (with The Times of India), and in Australia (with ACP).
The auction that started last year saw many likely bidders, including Grazia and FHM owner Bauer, being deterred by the protracted sale process and the complexity of striking deals to buy BBC assets.
The selection involved a three-stage approval process of informing, and getting the greenlight, from the BBC Worldwide board, the BBC executive board and the BBC Trust.