BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s profit-making commercial wing, is being barred from doing any mergers or acquisitions unless in “exceptional circumstances”, after its £89 million acquisition of three quarters of travel publisher Lonely Planet ruffled commercial rivals’ feathers.
Concluding an 18-month review in to BBCWW, the regulating BBC Trust says it “would not expect to consider a commercial deal of the scale and nature of the Lonely Planet acquisition in future“. The trust said this, and the addition of ads to an overseas BBC.com, had “led to considerable press and public scrutiny and controversy”.
BBCWW has big online plans for Lonely Planet, including opening up its travel guides via API and syndication. But LP is now on a leash – the trust says it “will want to ensure that BBC Worldwide