BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm. It has acquired the iconic travel guides group Lonely Planet. It is hoped that the deal will help to extend the brand around the world and across new media platforms.
Judy Slayter, Lonely Planet chief executive, and her management team will remain with the business, which has significant operations in the UK, California and Australia. It will also retain its headquarters in Melbourne and founders Maureen and Tony Wheeler will keep a 25% stake in the group.
Etienne de Villiers, non-executive chairman of BBC Worldwide, says: “It is testimony to BBC Worldwide’s reputation that the Wheelers believe we are the right partner to take the business forward, given the many organisations that have approached them over the years. We are all convinced that the association will strengthen Lonely Planet’s visibility and growth potential, particularly in the digital arena, as well as providing their users access to the wide range of BBC content which connects with their interests.”
Lonely Planet publishes around 500 titles including specialist activity guides, shoestring guides and phrase books. It also produces and develops factual programming for international broadcasters and its website receives 4.3 million visitors a month.