News

AudioGO suspends business operations

Audiobook publisher AudioGO has put its business operations on hold due to "recently discovered significant financial challenges".

Rachel Josephson, AudioGO's head of marketing and sales, told The Bookseller: "I can confirm that AudioGO has temporarily suspended business operations whilst we seek an investment or a sale of the business."

She added: "There is a considerable amount of interest in AudioGO and we are hopeful of achieving a swift resolution. Protecting and respecting the rights of everyone that we work with is uppermost in our considerations and we are grateful for the fantastic support we have received from our colleagues throughout the industry."

Bath-based AudioGO has also confirmed it has sold its US arm Blackstone Audio back to Blackstone's founders, who operate the US Downpour.com download site. Blackstone was acquired by AudioGO just 10 months ago for an undisclosed sum.

AudioGO was set up in July 2010, when private investors bought out BBC Audiobooks. BBC Worldwide continues to own a minority stake.

Accounts submitted last year to Companies House show that AudioGO reported increased profits (to £2.4m) on slightly falling sales (at £15.6m) in the 12 months to 31st March 2012. However, the company's cash situation was sharply reduced, with cash in the bank falling to £346,142, compared with £1.9m a year earlier. The company said its reduction in sales was because of the price paid for digital products when compared with physical CDs, with unit sales actually increasing over the year. It added that its increased profits came at a time when it was dealing with the recession and the shift in format. The company employed close to 100 staff at that time.

One source said there would be plenty of interest in the company, but added that publishers might also want to take it on in order to prevent Amazon.com's Audible increasing its hold over the audiobook market.

Another source noted that AudioGO's Bath infrastructure is sizeable, including five studios.