Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Business
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Market Data 
Economy 
Companies 
E-Commerce 
Your Money 
Business Basics 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Sunday, 9 January, 2000, 11:58 GMT
Dome 'to be sold for 100m'

Queues for the popular Body Zone exhibit


The Millennium Dome is to be sold for up to 100m, according to a report in the Observer newspaper.

The report says ministers believe the New Millennium Experience Company is sitting on a substantial asset, and that a privatisation deal could be what is needed to rescue the Dome from possible financial disaster.


Dome features interactive attractions

The Observer says ministers have been shaken by negative publicity surrounding the Dome and that they are "privately admitting that sales of tickets may reach only 10 million - two million fewer than projected... representing a financial shortfall of 50m".

A shortlist of consortiums bidding to take over the Dome from 2001 is due to be announced this week, and the government is expected to make a final choice in the summer.

The report says the Dome has no money left as a contingency fund, making it vulnerable to cash-flow problems if sales are lower than expected.

Media "vendetta"

But the paper's claim that ministers fear a financial catastrophe is at odds with comments by the Dome minister, Lord Falconer.

He said the public have made it clear they like the Dome, and he criticised media attacks on it as a "vendetta".

He said three surveys had shown very high satisfaction rates among the visiting public, although opposition spokesmen have criticised the lengths of queues at the exhibition.

The shadow culture secretary, Peter Ainsworth, said; "There is a real risk that the Dome will face a financial crisis before the end of the year."

The Observer says proposals for the Dome include conversion into a sports stadium, conference centre, snow dome, trade fair exhibition hall, film theme park, film studio and a bid from Charlton Athletic Football Club.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

See also:
09 Jan 00 |  UK
Media 'Dome vendetta' attacked
01 Jan 00 |  UK
Thumbs up for Dome
04 Jan 00 |  UK
Queues mar Dome's opening days
08 Jan 00 |  UK
The Dome's embattled dame

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other Business stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories