LONDON — The government has given the BBC the greenlight for a new £350 million ($542 million) cash facility to invest in commercial activities on top of the pubcaster’s $310 million credit line.
BBC Worldwide, which exports programming and owns commercial TV channels such as BBC America, will be the major beneficiary. The Beeb aims to use the cash to expand internationally, as well as acquire magazine publishers, books and children’s characters.
Irking commercial nets
Given the current economic climate and the fact that BBC Worldwide generated revenues of $1.08 billion and earnings of $186 million last year, the decision is unlikely to be welcomed by U.K. commercial broadcasters.
According to BBC finance director John Smith, the BBC’s debt cannot be more than three times its earnings, or exceed 80% of the value of the commercial group’s assets.
A new entity, BBC Commercial Holdings, is being set up to consolidate the pubcaster’s commercial operations.