Geldof and friends split pounds 15m by selling off Planet 24

BOB GELDOF is to receive about pounds 5m after selling his television company Planet 24 to Carlton Communications.

The former Boomtown Rats singer and his partners Lord Alli, a Labour peer, and Charlie Parsons will divide pounds 15m from the television company, which owns the ITV broadcasters Carlton and Central.

It is one of Britain's largest production companies and its value is based on its contract to produce The Big Breakfast for Channel 4. That contract is thought to be worth around pounds 20m a year. It is the channel's biggest commission and only ITN's evening news programme comes close to appearing as regularly as the breakfast show.

Carlton and Planet 24 refuse to disclose the size of the deal, but City analysts believe pounds 15m reflects a realistic price for the company. However, a Planet 24 spokesman has said in the past that the asking price for the company was pounds 30m. The Big Breakfast has had a period of relative ratings success with the presenter Johnny Vaughan over the past two years, after flagging since the departure of Chris Evans in the mid-Nineties.

Geldof, who was knighted for organising Band Aid and Live Aid in the Eighties, said yesterday: "I'm as proud of Planet 24 as anything else I've done. This one company managed to shift the way television looked so nowadays our screens are awash with Planet 24 'wannabe' programming."

Dublin-born Geldof, a former music journalist who first rose to prominence with the Boomtown Rats in the post-punk wave in the late 1970s, has recently worked as a disc jockey on the London radio station Xfm, and he joked yesterday that he would now have time to follow his career in astrophysics. Last year he was paid pounds 684,000 as a director of the company. The creative brain behind the company is Charlie Parsons, who has made celebrities out of performers with youth and tabloid appeal, including Denise Van Outen, Dani Behr and Gaby Roslin. The other managing partner, Lord Alli, is a close friend of the former cabinet minister Peter Mandelson and was made a life peer last year. There has been speculation that he has wanted to sell the company to devote more time to his political career. He serves on the Foreign Office Panel 2000, which advises Robin Cook on the rebranding of Britain.

He will join Carlton as managing director of Carlton Productions. Parsons and Geldof will be connected with the company only in a consultative role.

Since its foundation in 1992 Planet 24 has managed to successfully dominate the niche market of "Yoof TV" typified by the late-night Channel 4 programme The Word. Despite some criticism of Planet 24 output, it nevertheless acted as a springboard to launch many household names.

Planet 24 employs 250 staff and makes programmes for terrestrial, satellite and cable television, as well as radio. Its terrestrial output alone is 600 hours of programming a year.

As well as The Big Breakfast, the company makes Gaytime TV for the BBC and Watercolour Challenge for Channel 4. A raft of other new programmes are also being developed but not all attempts to branch out have been successful. Plans to produce an American chat show failed after the series' ratings collapsed and Hotel Babylon for ITV received mixed reviews.

Carlton currently spends around pounds 200m a year on programmes for its own ITV companies Carlton and Central as well as for the BBC and Channel 4.

Planet 24, which employs 200 people, had profits after tax last year of pounds 1m.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect