The first bidder may have stepped into the ring to try to acquire BBC Broadcast, effectively put up for sale last week as part of last week's sweeping internal review.
The Financial Times reported that French electronics and media services group Thomson has already approached the corporation about the future of the key division, which handles channel transmissions, and employs 1,100 staff.
The FT quoted what it said was a person familiar with the situation as saying: "The company has been talking to the BBC and has more of an interest in this business than any other."
Last month, Thomson unveiled a two-year strategic plan aimed at transforming the company by focusing on high margin entertainment and media systems. Under the plan, due to be put into action on January 1, 2005, Thomson aims to double the number of its media and entertainment clients.
According to the FT report, the BBC is hoping to attract offers of between £100m and £150m for BBC Broadcast.
Meanwhile, BBC staff newspaper Ariel says half a century of history is set to end with the relocation of the BBC's research and development centre, Kingswood Warren, to a new facility in Manchester.
Ashley Highfield, director of new media and technology, said the mansion in Surrey - home to BBC research engineers since 1948 - had an outdated infrastructure. Highfield is currently reviewing how the BBC develops technology; the review is due to conclude in March when funding plans will be announced.
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