BBC may sell off part of BBC Worldwide

Possible stock market listing of the commercial arm

LONDON -- BBC director general Mark Thompson said Monday that selling off part of the corporation's commercial arm BBC Worldwide is being considered as an option.

Thompson told The Guardian that a part-privatization of BBC Worldwide is being mulled as a part of an on-going wide-ranging review.

Among the options under consideration is a stock market listing of the BBC's commercial arm.

Last year BBC Worldwide posted revenues hovering around the £1 billion mark ($1.6 billion) and is well known as the global shop front for television shows on the international market. The arm's stall at the upcoming MIPCOM in Cannes is likely to be a busy place.

"One of the things we should look at over this period is whether 100% ownership of Worldwide is essential going forward," Thompson told The Guardian.

A part-privatization of BBC Worldwide would likely see the BBC retain a controlling stake while outside investors snap up the other share stock.

The BBC is currently at the front and center of scrutiny over how it fuels its operations and raises cash from the license fee while maintaining a hugely successful commercial sidearm.

Thompson stressed that the corporation was looking at a "whole range of things" including offering a stake to a rival broadcaster or even an international partner.

Such a move would end speculation that Worldwide could merge with Channel 4 to create a rival state-funded organization.