BBC Worldwide takes 40% stake in DVD firm

2entertain's BBC-branded DVDs include 'Blue Planet'

LONDON -- BBC Worldwide, the sales and licensing arm of the British pubcaster, said Thursday it had acquired the outstanding 40% of DVD production business 2entertain for £17 million ($26 million).

The deal was funded wholly from the commercial division's assets and did not draw on license fee cash, Worldwide said. The BBC-branded business has often been accused by rivals of commercially exploiting its relationship with the BBC.

2entertain produces a range of highly successful BBC-branded DVDs including such fare as costumer drama "Cranford," natural history series "Blue Planet" and sci-fi smash "Doctor Who."

The deal to complete ownership brings to an end a yearlong wrangle with administrators of the now-liquidated British retail chain Woolworths, which was a joint venture partner in the business.

"I am pleased that we have finally concluded these negotiations, and have secured the future of 2entertain," BBC Worldwide CEO John Smith said. "2entertain's retail partners know it is now backed by a stable owner and license fee payers will continue to benefit from 2entertain's contribution to BBC Worldwide," Smith said.
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