BBC Worldwide buys Lonely Planet

Other News Materials 1 October 2007 22:08

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, has bought the travel guide publisher, Lonely Planet.

Lonely Planet, founded by husband and wife team Tony and Maureen Wheeler in 1972, publishes around 500 titles that are widely used by backpackers.

The purchase fits in with BBC plans to grow online revenues and expand operations in America and Australia.

Lonely Planet also produces travel programmes and its web site receives 4.3 million visitors a month.

The Wheelers, who owned the business along with John Singleton, will retain a 25% shareholding in the company.

"We felt that BBC Worldwide would provide a platform true to our vision and values, while allowing us to take the business to the next level," they said.

The amount paid was not disclosed.

The BBC said that the deal would strengthen Lonely Planet's visibility and growth potential.

It would also allow Lonely Planet users to access BBC content - such as Michael Palin's New Europe.

After travelling overland from Europe to Australia, the Wheelers produced their first book, Across Asia on the Cheap, from their kitchen table.

Today, Lonely Planet has offices in Melbourne, Oakland and London, with more than 500 office employees and 300 plus on-the-road authors.