The commercial arm of the BBC is looking to sell a majority stake in BBC Audiobooks, sources familiar with the company confirm. Based in the U.K., BBC Audiobooks was formed in 2001 and includes the American division BBC Audiobooks America. The decision to sell a stake in the audio group is part of BBC’s strategy to more tightly focus its operations. The organization hopes to sell BBC Audio to a company already in the audio business. A sale is not expected to be completed until early in 2010, and no significant changes are expected in the company during the sale process. In addition to its audiobook offerings, BBC Audiobooks includes a large print division which will be included as part of the sale.
BBC Audiobooks was formed through the integration of BBC Radio Collection, Cover to Cover and Chivers Press, which it bought in 2001 and which included Chivers North America. BBC Audiobooks America, located in Rhode Island, now has a backlist of more than 3,000 audiobook titles.