BBC finds Lonely Planet; acquires majority stake

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the British Broadcasting Corporation, has acquired Lonely Planet, Australian travel publisher for backpackers, for an undisclosed price.
For over 30 years, the expert travel writers at Lonely Planet and their on-the-ground research and no-holds-barred opinion have inspired and guided independent travellers to explore the world around them.
Maureen and Tony Wheeler, who founded the publisher of over 500 "Lonely Planet Guide to…" series in 1972 with a sense of adventure that took them on an overland trip from Europe to Australia in a beat-up old car and a few dollars in the pocket, will keep a 25 per cent stake.
Maureen and Tony Wheeler met on a park bench in Regent's Park and married a year later. For their honeymoon, they decided to attempt what few people thought possible - crossing Europe and Asia overland, all the way to Australia. It took them several months and all the money they could earn, beg or borrow, but they made it. And at the end of it all, they were flat broke… and couldn't have been happier. That trip also started the Wheelers' journey of a lifetime not just in exploring all the places that interested them, but in a publishing venture, as well.

On the stake sale to the UK broadcaster, the Wheelers said that joining BBC Worldwide allowed them to secure the long-term future of their company within a globally recognised media group.