TV production companies Avalon and Hat Trick have reportedly approached the BBC with a view to buying BBC Three, but the corporation has responded by saying the channel is "not for sale".

BBC Three is to be closed as a broadcast channel and moved online under proposals confirmed by the BBC Trust last March, but the two production companies are now looking to keep it on TV.

In a statement, Avalon and Hat Trick pledged to retain BBC Three's presence on its current digital platforms and also vowed to increase its programme budget from £81m to £100m per year.

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BBC head of press Sam Hodges, however, has taken to Twitter to refute claims that BBC Three is to be sold by the corporation: "Hate to kill a good PR stunt but BBC Three isn't for sale".

That stance was backed by BBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh in a blog post, stating: "BBC Three is not closing and BBC Three is not for sale.

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"We’d be kidding ourselves if we ignored the fact the BBC Three audience is online, and increasingly so. They just are. This proposal meets how young people live their lives."

A consultation process has been launched by the BBC Trust, which will let you have your say on the future of BBC Three – together with other proposals for the corporation's output.

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[via BBC]