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Future Publishing considering purchase of BBC magazines

£100m bid possible for broadcaster's 34 titles

Specialist magazine and website publishing firm Future, most famous for its games portfolio, is reportedly considering the acquisition of BBC Worldwide's magazine division.

The Edge and Official Xbox Magazine publisher has yet to make a formal offer, reports the Guardian, but "has been actively involved in the sales process" for the 34 BBC titles – including Radio Times, Good Food, Lonely Planet and Top Gear.

Estimates have it that the Bath and London firm would need to offer upwards of £100 million for the BBC Worldwide portfolio, but currently holds a market capitalisation of £89 million. In order to raise more funds for the possible purchase, it may have to increase its current debt of £7 million.

No other bidders are confirmed as yet, although the Guardian believes at least two more are in the frame – possibly including German firm Hubert Burda.

Although sales are declining, the BBC's magazine division remains relatively profitable, having earned £18.4 million in its last fiscal year.

The sale is thought to stem from political headaches regarding the publicly-funded broadcaster's commerciality, and because the BBC is seeking to free up funds for more spending on its digital division. However, the BBC reportedly seeks to retain a degree of editorial control over its magazines following the purchase.

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Alec Meer: A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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