Source AP ©

BBC Worldwide buys 75% stake in Lonely Planet

The BBC’s commercial arm has bought a 75 percent stake in the Lonely Planet travel guides, the corporation announced Monday.

BBC Worldwide Ltd. did not disclose how much it paid for control of the publisher, based in Melbourne, Australia. Founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler will keep a 25 percent stake.

The current management team, led by Chief Executive Judy Slatyer, will remain in place. Lonely Planet has operations in Australia, Britain and California.

"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 organizations that have approached them over the years," said Etienne de Villiers, non-executive chairman of BBC Worldwide.

"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."

BBC Worldwide is the main commercial arm of the BBC, generating profits of 111.1 million pounds (EUR159.5 million, US$227.5 million) on sales of 810.4 million pounds (EUR1.16 billion, US$1.66 billion) in the year ending March 31.

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