Skift Take

The struggling magazine is joining a Lonely Planet that's eager for expansion on every travel front.

Travel publisher Lonely Planet has purchased Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel magazine.

“It appears, subject to court approval that we may have been the successful bidder on Budget Travel,” Lonely Planet COO Daniel Houghton confirmed to Skift. “The acquisition is part of a continued strategy to improve the assets and resources that Lonely Planet brings to our consumers.”

The purchase price is reportedly $2.4 million, but the final number could not be confirmed.

What Lonely Planet gets in this sale is not certain yet. Remaining subscribers, magazine archives, and digital assets likely come with the sale, but possibly not the name.

In January, magazine founder Arthur Frommer updated a previously filed trademark infringement lawsuit against IntelliTravel Media, which operated the magazine during bankruptcy.

In the complaint, Frommer asserted his right to the use of the “Frommer” name on digital products and sought to block any further use of the name in digital products after the bankruptcy proceedings.

The Bankruptcy Year 

Budget Travel entered bankruptcy in February of 2013, and has spent the year focused on its digital products — both a tablet version of the magazine and its website — while it followed through on the bankruptcy procedures. The magazine’s last print edition was in November 2012.

The magazine was launched by Arthur Frommer in 1998 and sold to Newsweek the following year. In 2009, Newsweek parent company Washington Post sold Budget Travel to an investment arm owned by Alphonse Fletcher Jr. The magazine floundered under Fletcher due to little investment and the continued slump in travel publishing.

During 2013, the skeleton staff kept the magazine alive through new content on its website and an active social media presence.

Crowded Lonely Planet

Since NC2 Media purchased Lonely Planet from BBC Worldwide in March 2013 for AUS$75 million, the publisher has made a handful of additional acquisitions.

In November it bought travel app TouristEye for an undisclosed amount, and in September it purchased the television production company Passport to Adventure.

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Tags: budget travel, lonely planet, magazines

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