Fuller sells stakes in his Popworld to C4 and UBC

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The Independent Online

Simon Fuller, the multimillionaire pop entrepreneur, added another £750,000 to his fortune as he brought UBC Media and Channel Four into his business empire yesterday.

Mr Fuller, who owns 19 Management and the PopIdol format, sold 37.5 per cent of Popworld, a music-based live performance and chat show that appears weekly on Channel Four. It is also broadcast on Channel Four's digital channel, E4, and has a nightly slot on MTV. Channel Four took a 25 per cent stake in Popworld and UBC Media, which supplies content such as traffic and news bulletins to radio stations, took a 12.5 per cent stake for £250,000. It has an option to buy a further 12.5 per cent at any time up to January 2005 at the same price.

Popworld plans to produce radio material in the same style as the television programme, which it will then syndicate to radio stations through UBC. A dedicated Popworld radio station could also emerge.

Simon Cole, the chief executive of UBC Media, said: "The programme is one of the few music shows on terrestrial television with a growing audience share - up 9 per cent this year. In digital radio, where there are so many new names for stations, you need a brand that the audience know immediately. Popworld has that with the 15 to 17-year-old market."