BBC Worldwide Acquires Lonely Planet

Posted on 10/1/2007 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

BBC Worldwide has acquired the 30-year-old, Australia-based travel publisher Lonely Planet. Lonely Planet Images, a travel-stock library established in 1998, was part of the deal.

The acquisition supports an aggressive media-sector growth strategy of the commercial arm of the British Broadcasting Corp. According to its CEO John Smith, the company intends to become one of the world’s leading content businesses by growing its portfolio of online content brands and its operations in the Australian and American markets

Lonely Planet was founded in 1972 by Tony and Maureen Wheeler and remained privately owned until this acquisition, with prominent Australian businessman John Singleton becoming a shareholder in 1999. Singleton’s other significant holdings include a number of Australian media businesses, such as Singleton Ogilvy & Mather and J. Walter Thompson.

The Wheelers will retain a 25% stake in the company. Lonely Planet CEO Judy Slatyer and her management team will continue to head international business operations. Financial details were not disclosed.

In addition to over 300 on-the-road author-travelers, Lonely Planet employs some 500 staffers in its Melbourne headquarters and offices in London and Oakland, Calif. The company publishes 500 print titles in eight languages and sells approximately 6.5 million books per year. Its Web site receives 4.3 million visitors per month.

Lonely Planet complements the publishing operation with a stock library of 250,000 travel images and maps. It also runs a TV production house that develops factual programming, most notably “Lonely Planet Six Degrees,” produced for Discovery Networks for the last three seasons. Another new property is, a travel-video Web site and community.

The company’s goals for the future include extending the Lonely Planet travel guides across multiple media platforms, growing the brand internationally and integrating the two existing user communities by providing Lonely Planet users with access to relevant BBC content.

Copyright © 2007 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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