BBC buys the Lonely Planet

BBC Worldwide has bought the travel guide publisher The Lonely Planet.

Lonely Planet was founded in 1972 by husband and wife team Tony and Maureen Wheeler . Currently publishing around 500 titles that are widely used by backpackers and other travellers.

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

The BBC have made the purchase to expand their online revenues and operations in America and Australia.

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

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 more than 300 on-the-road authors.

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