The head of technology for the BBC has said the sell-off the corporation's BBC Technology (BBCT) business is key to its IT strategy.
John Varney, BBC chief technology officer, told vnunet.com that short-listed bidders for the deal would be disclosed on 3 May.
The BBC's executive committee will approve the final three when Varney and his team report to them, and to broadcast union Bectu, on 5 May.
But the deal will still be subject to formal approval by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and currently faces opposition from Bectu.
Varney said the sell-off made sense because technology used by consumers and business is converging with that used by broadcasters, as access to rich-media content becomes more ubiquitous.
"We looked at this deal as a piece of our technology strategy. We know that our traditional technology strategy would have to be broadened over the next six or so years," he said.
"If we had not taken this approach now we would have had to in two years anyway, because we would have been left with a whole load of legacy technology."
The deal is expected to save the BBC £20m-£30m a year.
Citing estimates that the largely untapped global market of broadcasting technology services could be worth £25bn-£100bn a year, Varney said he felt the deal would be mutually beneficial to the BBC and the successful bidder.
Varney has now stepped aside from his daily responsibilities to devote his full attention to overseeing negotiations with bidders CSC, Fujitsu, EDS, Capita, Accenture, IBM, Logica and HP.
He added: "The consultation process will continue very much as it has been, involving the heads of BBC and BBCT, as well as Bectu. Once we've dropped the list down to three [in May] the process will be even more defined."
Peter White, financial director and chief operating officer of BBC New Media and Technology, will become acting chief technology officer, managing day-to-day operations and reporting to Varney for six months or until the deal is complete.
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