BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, has bought Lonely Planet in a deal thought to be worth around €143m.

Lonely Planet founders Maureen and Tony Wheeler will keep a 25% stake in the travel publisher they founded in 1972.

The couple, who met on a bench in London's Regents Park, started the publisher after a honeymoon trip across Asia.

More than 30 years after 'Across Asia on the Cheap' the couple has made about €100m on the sale, since they owned about 90% of the business.

In a statement, the couple said that joining BBC Worldwide 'allows us to secure the long-term future of our company within a globally recognised media group.'

Lonely Planet, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, publishes about 500 travel guides, including language, cycling and walking titles.

The company, which employs 500 staff and as many as 300 on-the-road authors, has recently targeted a mature travelling audience after focusing on campers and backpackers for decades.

The deal will help the BBC become "one of the world's leading content businesses' according to BBC Worldwide Chief Executive John Smith.

'The association will strengthen Lonely Planet's visibility and growth potential, particularly in the digital arena, as well as providing their users access to the wide range of BBC content which connects with their interests' he added.