Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond have signed a new commercial deal which effectively ensures they will continue on the show for at least three more more years.
They, along with show executive producer Andy Wilman, have agreed new deals with BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial wing, for undisclosed sums.
One aspect of the new arrangements sees Worldwide taking full control of a joint venture project it had with Clarkson and Wilman, called Bedder 6, for which the duo previously had a 50% stake between them.
In addition Clarkson, May, Hammond and Wilman have new commercial contracts with Worldwide for their work on the Top Gear brand for the next three years. It means they are likely to continue their connection with the BBC2 show for at least that long.
When Clarkson and Wilman held their share of Bedder 6, they received an annual dividend with Clarkson's most recent payout amounting to £2.7 million.
Although no figures are being revealed for the deal due to commercial
confidentiality it will lead to speculation that it will be a hefty sum to compensate for such a substantial payout.
Top Gear has been one of Worldwide's biggest moneyspinners with book and DVD sales, together with international sales of the programme.
Bedder 6 is believed to have grown its profits five-fold since the business started around five years ago.
A spokesman for BBC Worldwide: "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, reinvest in Top Gear and return profits to the BBC."
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