BBC Worldwide buys out 2entertain stake

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The Commercial arm of the BBC has agreed a deal to buy out the remaining 40 per cent of DVD business 2entertain it did not previously own in a deal worth £17m.

The sale, negotiated with the administrators of Woolworths, BBC Worldwide’s partner in the venture, started at the end of 2008. The BBC said the move secured the future of 2entertain, which publishes DVD titles include Gavin & Stacey, Doctor Who and Fawlty Towers.

BBC Worldwide said the acquisition ended a period of uncertainty brought on by the collapse of Woolworths, and protected its investment in 2|entertain, which was set up in September 2004.

John Smith, CEO, BBC Worldwide, said: “I am pleased that we have finally concluded these negotiations, and have secured the future of 2entertain.” He added

The deal was funded from existing cash at BBC Worldwide, a division of the corporation which does not receive income from the licence fee. The £17m price tag was deemed “fair value” after the group exercised its right to buy the outstanding shares in 2entertain following Woolworths’ administration.

“Licence fee payers will continue to benefit from 2|entertain's contribution to BBC Worldwide, which helped us return a total of £153m to the BBC in the last financial year,” Mr Smith added.

2entertain distributes DVDs to over 60 countries around the world. It sold 14.8 million DVDs last year. It contributed £28.6m in profits to BBC Worldwide between 2008 and 2009, with sales of £176.4m.