The popular Lonely Planet travel publication is about to be sold to Brad M. Kelley, Skift reported in an exclusive story yesterday. According to unnamed sources cited by the publication, the deal is in the last stages of negotiation.
Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world, is currently owned by BBC Worldwide, and its online site is still one of the most popular resources for travelers around the world. BBC Worldwide, which owns 75% stake in the company since 2007, hasn’t confirmed the deal, but did not deny the rumors. According to an official statement cited by Skift:
“We have been exploring strategic options for Lonely Planet for some time now but no deal has been done and we are not going to comment on speculation about its future.”
A strategic “sale” makes no sense, unless the Lonely Planet is experiencing financial difficulties, or doesn’t generate enough revenue to satisfy its major stakeholder.
But Brad Kelley could have a vested interest to acquire the Lonely Planet, since he already invested in travel startup OutwildTV, launched in July 2012.