parent company loses $51m

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One of the largest gay media companies in the world has reported a loss of $51.2m (£25.8m) in 2007.

PlanetOut saw sales slide to $53m last year, down from $58.8m in 2006. The company also recorded a $25.9 million charge for impairment of goodwill and intangible assets in 2007.

In January a spokesman for the NASDAQ-listed company confirmed they are looking for potential buyers.

In May 2007 high operating costs and declining sales resulted in a considerable first-quarter loss and a resulting slide in share price.

In July 2007 a company that invests the wealth of Microsoft founder Bill Gates purchased a major stake in PlanetOut.

Cascade Investments LLC joined with a number of other private equity vehicles to fund a rescue buyout of PlanetOut stock.

That same month the company closed its London and Buenos Aires offices as part of a streamlining of business operations designed to reduce costs. 273 staff were made redundant.

In October 2007, in order to retain a listing on the NASDAQ, PlanetOut reduced their stock by 10 to 1, a reverse stock split, meaning that 1,000 shares became 100.

This increased the share price and reduced the number of shares – without that manoeuvre they would have been trading at below $1 a share.

By January of this year the company was trading at 13% of its value in January 2007.

PlanetOut owns The Advocate,,,,, and, as well as localised versions of the site in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

Chief executive Karen Magee said last year that it would take at least 12 to 24 months to turn PlanetOut around and that the company may sell its adult businesses.

Her strategy was to create a greater level of integration between the company’s online and print businesses and put advertising revenue at the core of its business model.

The company sold its travel business RSVP Vacations to Atlantis Events in November.

SpecPub is also expected to be sold – it publishes hard core gay titles such as Freshmen magazine.

In the USA, PlanetOut faces competition from MTV owner Viacom who run the Logo gay television network, itself owning, and

PlanetOut floated in October 2004 at a share price of $9 (£4.48), it quickly rose to $14.26 (£7.10) in November that year.

Allen and Company is assisting PlanetOut in finding a buyer.