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Treasury Holdings may pull out of the bidding for the Millennium Dome

Irish finance group Treasury Holdings, the main backer of the Legacy consortium, may drop its bid for the Millennium Dome. Reports suggest the BBC may step in.

The Irish Times reports that Maurice Harte, chief executive of Treasury Holdings, has said the company will review its options before deciding whether to continue as part of the Legacy. consortium hoping to buy the attraction.

Yesterday, Legacy lost its status as preferred bidder for the Dome from the British government. This is because it missed the deadline for agreement on its plans to turn the building into a technology based business park.

British deputy prime minister, John Prescott, also announced that the government will now consider new bids, possibly damaging Legacy’s chance of succeeding with its £125m offer for the building.

Harte is now considering legal action to recover its tranche of the £12m (E19.2) spent on the bid by its Legacy consortium because of this decision, according to the newspaper.

There had been concerns that Legacy lacks sufficient backing, but earlier in the week the consortium had been boosted when the Teesland Group said it would back Legacy by taking a 10 per cent stake.

But the Legacy consortium was also said to have argued with Whitehall's demands for a share of any profits made in the first 10 years and a slice of the money made if it is later resold.

Meanwhile, a new potential buyer has emerged. The BBC may step in to purchase the building, according to The Guardian. The corporation's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, is said to be in talks with a consortium that includes the Duke of Westminster and possibly the group behind Alton Towers and Madam Tussauds.

But Pierre-Yves Gerbeau/font>, former chief executive of the Dome, may now be considered. He wants to turn the Dome into an international entertainment venue and visitor attraction. Property group Stanhope and engineering company Pell Frischmann may also put in competing bids to develop the dome as a business complex.

Legacy was made preferred bidder last November when Japanese bank Nomura dropped out.