Jeremy Clarkson sells his company to the BBC

He is already the BBC’s highest paid star. Now Jeremy Clarkson is set for a £5million windfall after the Corporation bought out his stake in his production company.

The Top Gear presenter set up Bedder 6 five years ago with the show’s executive producer, Andy Wilman, to exploit the programme’s global brand.

Together the pair owned half the firm, while BBC Worldwide owned the other half. But now Clarkson and Wilman have given the BBC full control.

It is understood the total deal for both men is worth around $12 million. The money will come from the BBC’s commercial division.

Separately, Clarkson is believed to be paid an $800,000 talent fee by the BBC from the licence fee, which will remain fixed if the show continues until 2015.

In addition, Clarkson has signed a new deal with the corporation that will see him present Top Gear for another three years.

Bedder 6 has had huge success making money out of Top Gear merchandise, show tours, DVDs and international sales rights.

A BBC Worldwide spokesman said: ‘BBC Worldwide has agreed new commercial deals with Jeremy, James, Richard and Andy to secure Top Gear’s international future for another three years.

This agreement secures the commercial future of Top Gear without using a penny of licence fee money and allows us to continue to grow the brand around the world and return profits to the BBC.’

He caused controversy when it emerged that he earned $5 million in the year to March because of his stake in Bedder 6, as the company made pre-tax profits of $25 million and is estimated to be worth more than $70 million.

It has had huge success making money out of merchandise, show tours, DVDs and international exploitation of the show.

But Clarkson and Wilman, who have been friends since their schooldays, resigned earlier this month, and BBC Worldwide now have total ownership of the company.

Publicly the corporation is saying it cannot say how much the pair have paid for their stakes, but insiders say it is below £10 million.

Clarkson will still get a share of Top Gear commercial revenue generated by the show, in return for promoting the show worldwide.

His fellow presenters also signed a three-year deal with BBC Worldwide, suggesting that they will continue to work on the show until 2015, and will also receive money from commercial activities, in addition to the talent fee.

The money will be paid to them directly rather than through a private company.

Clarkson and Wilman’s windfalls because of Top Gear’s success have left many at the BBC uncomfortable as the organisation attempts to make cutbacks.

by Debbie Dot

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