Lonely Planet sold to Brad Kelley's NC2

Lonely Planet sold to Brad Kelley's NC2

Travel guide publisher Lonely Planet is to be sold by BBC Worldwide to US-based media company NC2, following BBC Trust approval. BBC Worldwide has agreed the sale of the business, which it has owned 100% of since 2011, having paid £130m over two stages.

BBC Worldwide will receive AU$75m (£51.5m) for 100% of Lonely Planet with AU$60m (£41.2m) paid on completion and AU$15m (£10.3m) paid in one year's time. BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten has said Lonely Planet "did not prove to be a good commercial investment" for BBC Worldwide.

NC2, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, is focused on the creation, acquisition and distribution of digital content and the development of the technologies behind this. The company's primary shareholder is American businessman Brad Kelley.

Its executive director, Daniel Houghton, will take on the role of chief operating officer for Lonely Planet. According to reports, current Lonely Planet c.e.o. Matt Goldberg will be stepping down from his post.

Houghton said: "With this acquisition comes a global footprint, not only in the travel guide business, but also in magazine publishing and the digital space. We are very excited about this opportunity, and delighted to agree this deal with BBC Worldwide."

He added: "The challenge and promise before us is to marry the world's greatest travel information and guidebook company with the limitless potential of 21st century digital technology. If we can do this, and I believe we can, we can build a business that, while remaining true to the things that made Lonely Planet great in the past, promises to make it even greater in the future."

BBC Worldwide interim c.e.o. Paul Dempsey said the company has "recognised that [Lonely Planet] no longer fits with our plans to put BBC brands at the heart of our business and have decided to sell the company to NC2 Media who are better placed to build and invest in the business". He added: "This deal begins a new chapter for Lonely Planet and signifies the end of one for BBC Worldwide."

The sale transaction will occur on 31st March, the end of the current financial year.

Lonely Planet was founded in 1972 by Tony and Maureen Wheeler.