The Radio Times is under review from private equity

I am sure that we all have memories from our childhood that to others may seem a little peculiar, and perhaps one of my strangest memories is that I have associated the Radio Times with Christmas. The big double issue that always appears in the shops around early December, enlightening me as to all the things I might be able to watch during the school holidays…

Yesterday’s business press reported that the BBC’s magazine portfolio, including the iconic Radio Times publication, was being linked with a potential sale to the private equity firm Exponent Private Equity. Exponent already has in its portfolio a number of other well-known brands, such as Radley, Quorn and Dreams, the bed retailer. 

A House of Lords review carried out in 2010 ordered the BBC to reduce its commercial activities, hence the sale of its magazine portfolio. The titles being sold include the Radio Times, Good Food, Gardeners World and Top Gear, amongst others. However, industry interest has been cooler than anticipated given that some of the titles are not being sold outright but are being offered under outsourced or publishing agreements.

Exponent already owns Magicalia Digital Publishing, which it acquired for £13m back in 2006 (Zephyr Deal No 462567). Magicalia owns and operates a number of consumer websites and magazines, and you could see the acquisition of the BBC magazine portfolio as a complimentary portfolio business to Magicalia or even a potential buy and build opportunity.

As ever in the world of publishing – watch this space.