U.S. Internet investor takes stake in BBC Worldwide division

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LONDON--U.S.-based Internet investor TH Lee Global Internet Managers (THLi) is to take a 13.5% stake in BBC Worldwide's newly created commercial Internet subsidiary beeb Ventures Ltd.

The subsidiary, valued at $408 million by THLi's $55.3 million investment, incorporates beeb.com -- a three year old shopping guide based on the BBC's brands such as "Top of the Pops'' and "Gardeners' World'' -- and ISP freebeeb.net.

The new funding will be used for technology developments and organizational expansion, according to the BBC. Currently in the works are: Web site launches, such as www.allaboutever.co.uk, related to new U.K. magazine Eve; Web site upgrades (offering more personalization and price/value comparisons, for example); e-commerce partnerships and expansion into new platforms such as interactive TV and mobile phones. BBC Worldwide will reportedly spend $11.9 million marketing beeb.com.

Copyright August 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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