BBC Buys Lonely Planet To Expand Online Content



BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the British Broadcasting Corp, bought Lonely Planet in a deal that values the travel publisher at about 100 million pounds ($203 million), a person familiar with the talks said.

Lonely Planet founders Maureen and Tony Wheeler will keep a 25 percent stake, the BBC said on Monday.

The couple, who met on a bench in London’s Regents Park, started the publisher in 1972 after a honeymoon trip across Asia with “a beat-up old car, a few dollars in the pocket and a sense of adventure,” the Lonely Planet’s Web site says. >>Full Story

Thoughts// A big acquisition for the BBC and a big move from Lonely Planet. In what may be one of the first consolidation moves in this Web 2.0 online travel industry, the deal begins to show the value of travel content. In what is by far the most obvious statement to date on this blog, people like to travel…and travel content, travel-planning content and travel review content is a big hook for large portal sites (such as Yahoo!, MSN and the BBC) to continue to build visitation.

Two excerpts from a couple of articles on the deal:

BBC Worldwide recently raised £350m in debt to acquire content companies around the world to boost its growth prospects and add to its already extensive content portfolio. РThe Independent

The deal will help the BBC become “one of the world’s leading content businesses,” BBC Worldwide Chief Executive John Smith said. – Washington Post

One of the world’s leading content businesses. Not a news business, not an entertainment business, not even a television business, but a content business. As digital / interactive / entertainment companies continue to grow, the most important asset is content.

Content.

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