Siemens Business Services (SBS) has been announced as the BBC’s single preferred bidder for its Technology division. There are a few hurdles yet to go – the deal is still subject to approval by BBC governors, the Secretary of State for Culture, media and Sport and needs to be cleared by the European Commission under EC Merger Regulations.
Once approved, the contract will run for ten years and is worth up to UK£2 billion (€3 billion).
The BBC is hoping that SBS will provide skills and expertise to reach its goals over those ten years, as well as substantial cost savings, estimated to be at least UK£20 – 30 million (€30 – €45 million). The corporation has been considering selling off its technology division for at least the last ten years, and, having finally done so represents a further slimming down of the corporation. The last big sell off of this type was a few years ago when the BBC disposed of properties to Land Securities Trillium – this of course gave rise to the Legend of the £50 Lightbulb Replacement Fee.
With a staff of 1400 and turnover of UK£230 million (€344 million), BBC Technology has a number of high-profile customers outside the corporation, including BSkyB, DirectTV, ESPN and Hutchinson 3G.