BBC Completes sale of OB fleet, team to SIS

The BBC has completed the sale of the Outside Broadcasts division (“BBC Outside Broadcasts”) of its wholly-owned commercial subsidiary, BBC Resources Ltd, to Satellite Information Services Ltd (“SIS”). The business and staff of BBC Outside Broadcasts will transfer to SIS as of April 1, 2008. Terms were undisclosed.

One of the UK’s leading providers of outside broadcast production facilities and services, BBC Outside Broadcasts operates a large fleet of television production units plus sound, support and communications vehicles and award-winning special cameras. The business supports events ranging from music festivals, drama productions and major state occasions, to Wimbledon, the Olympics and World Cup football.

Under SIS ownership, Outside Broadcasts will continue to provide services to the BBC and other customers. Andy Thornton, Project Director, BBC, says the deal offers stability and security for clients. “It provides an ongoing relationship, coupled with SIS’ commitment to driving innovation and investment,” he adds. “Both are vital as we seek to remain relevant and indispensable to our diverse and fast-changing audience.”

SIS Chief Executive, David Holdgate, comments, “The chance to acquire something of the size, range and impeccable reputation of BBC Outside Broadcasts is almost a once in a lifetime opportunity, and one that we were determined not to miss out on.

Holdgate says SIS has bought a business that has fantastic assets in its people, reputation and range of output. “We have substantial plans in place to match that with a modernized equipment fleet, to take advantage of market opportunities,” he says.

The sale follows a review of the Corporation’s commercial businesses. As well as delivering a good deal for the BBC, SIS has also given Outside Broadcasts’ staff assurances on pensions, and terms and conditions.

Satellite Information Services Limited (SIS) is a long-established media business and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Satellite Information Services (Holdings) Ltd (SISH). SISH is owned by a combination of leisure and financial investors. The business focuses on TV production, broadcasting and the provision of live pictures and data via satellite from two key sites in London and Milton Keynes. Clients include Sky and ITV, to whom it provides live coverage of news and sports events, including Formula 1 and Rugby World Cup.

SIS has recently launched services in the United States in partnership with Intelsat, the world’s largest supplier of fixed satellite services.

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