30 January 2004 The race for the IT outsourcing contract at the BBC — one of the biggest deals in the UK outside the public sector — is hotting up, with almost 40 companies expressing an interest in the deal, worth about £2 billion (€2.92bn) over ten years.
The deal will involve the concurrent sale of the corporation’s technology arm at a value of between £100 million (€146m) and £150 million (€220m). Bidders include BT, which has won a string of public sector outsourcing deals in recent months, and consulting giant Accenture.
The outsourcing of the BBC’s IT department was partly driven by a stipulation in the BBC’s 2000 charter renewal compelling it to raise £1 billion (€1.46bn) over seven years. The process is being handled by the BBC’s chief technology officer John Varney and accountants Ernst &Young, rather than the board of governors.
The BBC hopes to save about £30 million (€43.8m) per year as a result of the outsourcing deal, which includes such specialised functions as supporting the gathering and dissemination of broadcast feeds from around the world, as well as more mundane tasks, such as desktop PC support.
The 40 serious bids that the BBC has received will be whittled down to a shortlist of just three by the end of April, with the winning bidder being announced in the summer.