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Last Updated: Monday, 27 June, 2005, 04:28 GMT 05:28 UK
BBC Broadcast sold off for 166m
BBC director general Mark Thompson
Director general Mark Thompson has come under fire for his plans
The BBC has sold BBC Broadcast, its digital media subsidiary, for 166m to an Australian business consortium.

BBC Broadcast, which provides media, transmission, and promotional services, was the focus of a dispute, with unions fearing a sell-off would mean job cuts.

But new owner Creative Broadcast Services has agreed to a one-year moratorium on compulsory job losses.

BBC head Mark Thompson said the deal would be completed when it has approval from the government.

'Strong relationships'

The director general said it was the "best possible deal for the BBC as a whole".

The trade union Bectu, which represents the majority of staff at BBC Broadcast, is opposed to the sell-off in principle but has yet to comment on the deal.

There is no intention for any staff redundancies during the one-year moratorium
Macquarie Capital Alliance

Mr Thompson said: "Creative Broadcast Services is committed to growing BBC Broadcast as a business and maintaining a long-term partnership with the BBC.

"I'm confident this will allow us to maintain the strong relationships which already exist between the BBC and BBC Broadcast."

As well as a moratorium on compulsory job losses, Mr Thompson said the consortium had also agreed to protect workers' contracts for three years, continue to recognise unions and offer a "broadly comparable" pension scheme.

'Growing the business'

Creative Broadcast Services is led jointly by Macquarie Capital Alliance Group and Macquarie Bank, Australia's biggest investment bank.

"There is no intention for any staff redundancies during the one-year moratorium. Our focus is on growing the business," said a spokeswoman for Macquarie Capital Alliance.

It is believed BBC Broadcast has contracts with the BBC up to 2015, worth over 500m.

A two-day strike over job cuts at the BBC was called off last month after BBC managers and unions agreed to re-start negotiations.

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