Rightmove (LON:RMV), the UK property website, has sold its majority interest in Holiday Lettings (Holdings) Ltd to TripAdvisor LLC for an undisclosed sum. The deal takes away a business that never really fitted with Rightmove’s property focus and is not expected to have a material impact on the group’s underlying operating profit from continuing operations.

Rightmove acquired a 66.67% stake in Holiday Lettings in March 2007. In May this year, it reported that Holiday Lettings had experienced a strong first quarter start to the year with new advertiser and renewal prices around 25% higher than a year ago. New sales volumes were slightly down on a year ago although overall new sales revenues were higher as the result of the higher prices being achieved. Page impressions to the Holidaylettings.co.uk website were up by 20% in Q1 2010 on a year earlier. The company said it intended to report Holiday Lettings as a discontinued operation in its half yearly report, with the gross assets disposed of totalling £1.0m.

Ed Williams, Rightmove’s managing director, said: “Holiday Lettings has been a very successful business under our period of majority ownership. However, Holiday Lettings is naturally a travel sector business and should benefit in the future under the ownership of a large travel website such as TripAdvisor. We are delighted with our financial returns following a successful three year stewardship of Holiday Lettings, and thank founders Ross Elder and Andy Firth for their excellent contributions. We wish them and the business much future success.”

In the year to December 2009, Rightmove posted a pre-tax profit broadly flat at £37.8m on sales of £69.4m, down 6% on the previous year. Today the company’s shares were down by 0.7% to 670p.

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