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Lonely Planet 'sale' claims

BBC Worldwide may be looking to sell Lonely Planet, the Guardian has reported. The newspaper claims the the BBC's commercial arm could be looking for an outside investor or a potential sale of the travel publisher.

It cites an  unnamed source saying they believed that there had been interest from investors in the US, with a second source believing that a deal is close to being closed with an unknown third party. Google has also recented expanded into the travel business with the acquisition of Frommers from John Wiley.

The article also claims BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten is keen on "reining in BBC Worldwide's expansionist ambitions" and unhappy with the number of non-TV investments made by BBC Worldwide.

BBC Worldwide said: "Lonely Planet is a fantastic brand which has seen tremendous success over recent years and we're not going to comment on speculation about its future."

BBC Worldwide paid £130.2m to acquire Lonely Planet over two stages, in 2007 and 2011. It took full control of Lonely Planet in February 2011, after initially purchasing a 75% stake in 2007.

Any deal would have to be approved by the BBC Trust.