BBC sells Origin Publishing to MBO team after Thompson's remit review

The BBC has sold Origin Publishing, the specialist magazine company it bought two years ago, to a management buyout team, following the commercial review that said the titles did not fit into the corporation’s remit.

In Mark Thompson’s radical shakeup of the service at the end of 2004, BBC Magazines was told it could only publish titles directly linked to TV programmes, while Origin, which owns titles such as Your Hair and Cross Stitch Crazy, had to be sold.

BBC History, BBC Wildlife and Songs of Praise magazines, which were transferred to Origin when it was purchased, will be retained by the BBC in a new company, Bristol Magazines.

Homes & Antiques magazine will be transferred from London to the Bristol site, and the BBC’s next title will be launched from the Bristol base.

However, a spokeswoman for the company said there were no plans to move any of the other London-based titles to the West Country.

Andy Marshall, managing director of Origin, will now lead the independent Origin Publishing and be acting director of the new Bristol Magazines, which will be chaired by Peter Phippen, MD of BBC Magazines.

A spokesman said: "BBC Magazines conducted an extensive tender process involving a significant number of companies and accepted Origin’s MBO proposal as the highest bid put forward."

Phippen said: "It’s sad to have to sell Origin and to be saying farewell to some very talented people, but this is in line with the new remit for BBC Magazines.

"Origin is an excellent company and I’m sure the MBO team will ensure the business continues to prosper.

"For our part, we remain committed to Bristol as a publishing centre.

Indeed, we are moving Homes & Antiques there and have recently announced our next launch, BBC Mind Games. I’m very excited about our new venture."

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