Penguin books and BBC Worldwide form new venture for BBC children's books

London - Some of the world's leading character properties including Teletubbies, Tweenies, Fimbles and Bob the Builder, all published by BBC Children's Books, are to become part of an exciting new global publishing venture announced today by Penguin and BBC Worldwide.

A new company has been formed that will publish between 60 and 80 titles a year under the imprint of BBC Children's Books; this will sit alongside Penguin's existing children's publishing portfolio, which includes Spot, Peter Rabbit, Ladybird books and Puffin.

The new company combines BBC Worldwide's skills in harnessing strong editorial content from its established children's portfolio and its proven brand development expertise with Penguin's publishing creativity, scale, and global sales and distribution capability.  With BBC Worldwide the company will develop publishing franchises supporting new BBC properties for the global market and explore further publishing opportunities within the extensive BBC children's archive.

BBC Worldwide will transfer its existing Children's Books business to the new company, which will be co-owned by Penguin and BBC Worldwide. The business, including its current dedicated editorial, design and production teams, will be led by Sally Floyer, who combines this role with her current position as Managing Director of Penguin's Ladybird division. The board of the new company will comprise members of the Penguin Group and BBC Worldwide [see notes].

BBC Worldwide will grant the new company a first option to license the book publishing rights in all new BBC children's properties to which BBC or BBC Worldwide has the relevant rights.  The new company will work within BBC editorial and commercial policy guidelines to ensure that appropriate controls are maintained over BBC intellectual property.

Penguin will provide full operational and management support to the new company, as well as global sales and distribution services.

Chief Executive of Penguin Group (UK), Anthony Forbes Watson, said: "I'm really excited to have the opportunity for Penguin to work closely with BBC Worldwide on developing innovative children's publishing.  Penguin is a committed children's publisher and this new venture will cement our position as a leading player in this vitally important market segment."

Chairman and CEO of the Penguin Group, John Makinson, said: "Penguin and BBC Worldwide are natural partners in children's publishing. Our own imprints and characters already reach a worldwide audience and we will now put this experience at the disposal of the BBC's fabulous family of character properties. We're delighted to have that opportunity."

BBC Worldwide Chief Executive, Rupert Gavin, said: "A new company which combines the creative magic of BBC children's properties and Penguin's distinguished publishing record is an exciting proposition.  This move is also another step forward in BBC Worldwide's strategy for growth.  Penguin's editorial ethos for children's books is complementary to ours and we look forward to building a strong business, both in the UK and around the world."

The company will begin trading immediately.  Penguin will own a 75% share of equity; BBC Worldwide a 25% share.

To download character images and logos, visit:
The online Penguin Press Office at www.penguin.co.uk/pressoffice

 

Further information

Joanna Prior, Publicity and Marketing Director at Penguin on 020 7010 3250 / 07770 380 557 or email: joanna.prior@penguin.co.uk

Jennie Allen, BBC Worldwide Press Office on 020 8433 2634 / 07720 731 735 or email: jennie.allen.01@bbc.co.uk

Mary Renouf, BBC Worldwide Press Office on 020 8433 2596 / 07801 216 865 or email: mary.renouf@bbc.co.uk

 

Notes for correspondents

The directors of the new company will, in addition to Sally Floyer, be Mark Young and David King, both board directors of BBC Worldwide; and from Penguin Group (UK), Peter Bowron, Brian Landers and Anthony Forbes Watson, who will be Chairman.

Penguin Group is home to some of the leading brands in publishing " Penguin, DK, Ladybird, Rough Guides, Puffin, Spot and Peter Rabbit.  From literary prizewinners to commercial blockbusters; from a child's first picture book to the classics of literature; from fantastic fiction to beautiful reference works, Penguin Group publishes an unrivalled range of books in 100 countries. Penguin Group is part of Pearson Plc, the international media company. www.penguin.co.uk/pressoffice

BBC Worldwide Limited

is the commercial consumer arm, and a wholly owned subsidiary, of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The company was formed in 1994 to develop a co-ordinated approach to the BBC's commercial activities: television, publishing, product licensing, internet and interactive. BBC Worldwide exists to maximise the value of the BBC's programme and publishing assets for the benefit of the licence payer, and re-invest in public service programming. Turnover in the last financial year (2002-2003) was £640 million and £123 million was returned to the BBC.

www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/commercial