Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware. The full link is here: http://accrispin.blogspot.ca/2011/05/literary-agencies-as-publishers.html
Once upon a time (with one notable exception, mentioned below), the only literary agencies that engaged in publishing ventures were marginal agencies whose micro-publishing divisions existed in large part to make money on clients whose work they failed to place, or scams where agency clients were shunted into pay-to-publish arrangements (often without revealing the connection between the agency and the publisher). If an agency owned a publisher, you could pretty much automatically cross them both off your query list.
That's no longer so.
Last week, prestigious UK agency Ed Victor Ltd. announced that it was going into publishing, with an ebook/print-on-demand division called Bedford Square Books. Bedford Square will launch in September with six titles, and will focus on backlist (out of print, rights-reverted) books by agency clients.