BBC plans to sell technology arm to Siemens for £2bn
LONDON - The BBC has selected Siemens, the German industrial group, as the single preferred bidder for a £2bn deal to sell its information technology arm.
The deal, ensuring one of the biggest technology contracts in the UK, would see Siemens Business Services buy the BBC division for £200m, take on its 1,400 staff and provide the corporation with IT support for the next 10 years.
The BBC plans to plough the money raised from the outsourcing deal into providing innovative programmes and better services at the corporation.
The battle to win the contract bid has been hotly fought over the last six months. Even with the announcement of the second stage of bidders, eight shortlisted companies had been selected. These included high-profile blue-chip firms such as CSC, Fujitsu, EDS, Capita, Accenture, IBM, Logica and HP.
Siemens, CSC and Accenture were the final three in the race until CSC dropped out on June 10.
Officials from Bectu, the broadcasting and entertainment union, are due to meet Siemens today for talks on BBC employees. Bectu is planning a ballot, depending on the outcome of the deal, if job cuts are made and pensions slashed. The BBC has responded to the union by insisting one of the reasons the German group won the contract was its commitment on employee conditions.
The final contract is due to be drawn up in autumn 2004, subject to the necessary approvals.
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