Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

BBC Worldwide Press Releases

BBC Worldwide formalises full ownership of Lonely Planet

BBC Worldwide announces that it has this week acquired the outstanding 25% shareholding in Lonely Planet from founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler for AUD$67.2m (£42.1m). This follows the exercise of a put option over the Wheelers' remaining shares, jointly agreed between BBC Worldwide and the Wheelers at the time of Lonely Planet's acquisition in 2007.

Marcus Arthur, Chairman of Lonely Planet and MD of BBC Worldwide Global Brands, said: "The put option enabled us to benefit from the Wheelers' experience over the last three and a half years. They have supported Lonely Planet's ongoing migration from a traditional book publisher to a multi-platform brand. I would like to wish them the very best in the next phase of their lives."

Tony and Maureen Wheeler, joint founders of Lonely Planet, said: "The last three years have seen Lonely Planet embark on a journey of its own – giving its users and readers ever more choice and utility. We wish the business and the Lonely Planet community every success in the future."


BBC Worldwide acquired 75% of Lonely Planet on 1 October 2007 for AUD$201.6m (£88.1m).

The Wheelers founded Lonely Planet in 1973. Since then it has grown from its first title, Across Asia on the Cheap, to become the best-loved travel publishing brand in the world. Since 2007, in spite of difficult market conditions, Lonely Planet has increased share in its major markets from 18.2% in 2007 to 20.6%, remaining the leading travel guide book publisher globally. It has launched two new guidebook series, entered the domestic market in China, and published its 100 millionth book last January. Lonely Planet's non-print revenue has grown from 9% at acquisition to 22% in 2009/10. It has pioneered the travel apps market, and now offers over 140 apps across four mobile platforms with total iPhone app downloads of 8.5m to date. Monthly visitors to have more than doubled to 8.5m in January 2011. The Lonely Planet brand was launched in magazine format in 2008, and now has eight editions in print globally (UK, Brazil, France, Spain, Asia, Argentina, Philippines and India). -

Ben Wilson/Philip Fleming

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