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BBC buys out Lonely Planet founders

Lonely Planet co-founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler have sold their remaining 25% stake of iconic travel guide to BBC Worldwide for A$67.2 million.

BBC Worldwide first acquired 75% of the Australian company in October 2007 for A$201.6 million (£88.1m).

The British broadcaster has since increased its market share from 18% to more than 20% with a strong focus on digital and the growing popularity of applications for smart phones.

It now offers more than 140 travel apps, with its web traffic growing steadily.

Tony and Maureen Wheeler, 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,” they said in a joint statement.

Marcus Arthur, chairman of Lonely Planet and MD of BBC Worldwide Global Brands, said both founders had 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.”

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