BBC wipes £33.8m off Lonely Planet value

BBC wipes £33.8m off Lonely Planet value

BBC Worldwide has written down £33.8m off the value of Lonely Planet, blaming the strong Australian dollar and challenges to the travel sector.

The broadcaster bought 75% of the business in 2007 for £89m and paid a further £42m for the remaining shares earlier this year. However, in parent BBC Worldwide's (BBCW) annual report, published today, it revealed the write down. The Lonely Planet business is based in Australia and BBCW blamed the strength of the Australian dollar for £20.7m of the total write down.

It said: "The strength of the Australian dollar in recent years has led to challenging sales conditions for the Lonely Planet business. This has been compounded by declines since 2008 in key travel guide markets suffering from the impact of the global financial crisis." It identified the likes of Borders and REDGroup entering administration as among the market challenges.

BBCW said Lonely Planet managed to maintain its market share and said it has 21% of the travel guidebook market in "key territories", which it said was a five-year high. It also said of the 12m apps sold by BBC Worldwide during the past year, 9m of those were by Lonely Planet.

BBCW did not strip out sales and profit figures for Lonely Planet, with the business included in its brands, consumers and new ventures segment, which also includes earnings from the likes of "Top Gear" and "Doctor Who". The segment made a loss of £10.3m for the year ending 31st March, down 14.4% year on year. Sales were up 4.2% to £86.0m.