BBC Worldwide sells audiobook arm
14.07.10 | Victoria Gallagher

http://www.thebookseller.com/Victoria+Gallagher

BBC Worldwide has sold 85% of BBC Audiobooks to AudioGo Limited. BBC Worldwide will retain a 15% stake in the business, but has exited the majority of the audiobooks business, including BBC Audiobooks America. The sum realised for the sale was not disclosed.

The move follows reports going back as far as September that the BBC was looking to offload the audiobooks business. The company will now trade as AudioGo, but will continue to publish BBC-sourced content under the BBC Audiobooks imprint.

John Smith, chief executive of BBC Worldwide, said: “BBC Worldwide will remain a shareholder in the business, and looks forward to participating in its future success. Sales proceeds will be reinvested in our international businesses, supporting future returns to the BBC, and therefore benefiting the licence fee payer.”

Paul Dempsey, managing director of BBC Worldwide’s Home Entertainment division, said the partnership would enable BBC Audiobooks to develop its catalogue and services under new ownership. He added: “This agreement mirrors the successful publishing joint ventures we have put in place for our books businesses.”

Michael Kuhn, chairman of AudioGo, said: “The partners in AudioGo are committed to building on the past achievements of BBC Audiobooks as it enters the digital age. Opportunities are many and exciting and we will immediately get to it with managing director Mike Bowen and his team, and in partnership with BBC Worldwide, to create new offerings to our customers worldwide.”

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