BBC backs Beeb.com with £240m joint venture

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, is forming a new £240m joint venture with a US internet investor to run its internet ventures, beeb.com and ISP freebeeb.net.

LONDON (Brand Republic) - BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, is forming a new £240m joint venture with a US internet investor to run its internet ventures, beeb.com and ISP freebeeb.net.

TH Lee Global Internet Managers (THLi) will take a 13.5% stake, valued at £32.5m, in the new subsidiary Beeb Ventures.

The announcement signifies the start of an aggressive £7m marketing strategy for online shopping site beeb.com. The site currently ties in with the BBC’s brands such as Top Gear and Top of the Pops. The BBC also plans to develop and market new sites related to mobile phones, interactive TV and high-speed internet access.

The deal with THLi is part of the BBC''s strategy of attracting additional funding through partnerships and joint ventures. It is believed that bids were made by cable operators NTL and Flextech, but the BBC rejected them, favouring the deal with venture capitalist THLi.

As part of the agreement Jeffrey Coats and Sharon Pipe, managing directors at THLi, will join the subsidiary company''s board of directors.