Popular Lonely Plant guidebooks, who is owned by the BBC, is being sold by a cigarette billionaire from Kentucky. CNN reported that Brad Kelley sold selling discount cigarette brands such as Bill Durham, USA Gold and Malibu making $1 billion in 2001 and then became one of the largest land owners and conservationists in the United States.
The deal should be finalized by next week ad according to the terms, CNN reported that he would buy a controlling stake in Lonely Planet. BBC Worldwide which is the commercial part of the BBC and the one that purchased Lonely Planet will have a small stake to maintain editorial control.
The BBC reportedly paid $210 million for Lonely Planet spread of four years starting in 2007 and this deal is far less than what they paid for it, but still higher than what the BBC values Lonely Planet.
"In July 2012, BBC Worldwide did a second write down and valued it at US$135 million," reported CNN. Book sales are reportedly decreasing more and more for Lonely Planet. Kelley will likely pay $100 million for the Lonely Planet stake.
BBC Worldwide said in a statement, "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."
It is unclear what Kelley plans to do with Lonely Planet. "With LP, Kelley's team is likely thinking of the long-term value of the brand and investing in digital -- especially video -- and possibly going into offline retail channels and using it as a environmental conservation platform," reported CNN.
Lonely Planet was founded in 1973 by Tony and Maureen Wheeler. BBC Worldwide bought a 75 percent stake in the company in 2007 for US $133 million.
The Guardian said "The commercial arm of the BBC also revealed that it has been forced to take a £16.1 million (US$24 million) 'charge to the income statement' in the year to the end of March, leaving the goodwill value of Lonely Planet at just £22.6 million (US$34 million) on its books."
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