BBC Buys Controlling Stake in Lonely Planet Travel Guides

The British Broadcasting Corp. said Monday it bought a 75-percent stake in the Lonely Planet travel guides.

BBC Worldwide Ltd. did not disclose how much it paid for control of the guides, 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.

"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," said Etienne de Villiers, non-executive chairman of BBC Worldwide.

BBC Worldwide is the main commercial arm of the BBC, generating profits of $227.5 million on sales of $1.66 billion in the year ending March 31.