Earthscan acquired by Taylor & Francis

Environmental publisher Earthscan has been bought by international academic publishing group Taylor & Francis following a process brokered by mergers and acquisitions specialists Bertolli Mitchell.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, was completed on Monday [31st January] and was completed from funds from existing facilities.

Earthscan's principal owner and executive chairman, Edward Milford, will step down from the business after a three month transition period. Taylor and Francis c.e.o. Roger Horton said: "That is part of the process of deciding where to go next." He said it was as yet "too early" to comment on whether Earthscan's more than 30 employees would be moving to new premises, or if any job losses would happen.

He said: "It is too early to say what we are going to do with it, the deal having just been signed. We are going to have to have full and proper discussions with both Taylor & Francis and Earthscan staff before making any final decisions."

On plans for the publisher, he added: "We haven't bought it because we wanted to change everything, we bought it because we understand the value of it. It is a very happy union of where they are now and where we want to go in the future, in terms of the publishing areas."

Earthscan m.d. Jonathan Sinclair Wilson said: "From our side the logic of the move was dictated by the rapidly increasing importance of the area in which we publish. Although we've been doing well and growing fast, we've come to realise that our size and even our independence were not adequate to the scale of the publishing opportunity, and challenge, in the sustainability space.

"We need more muscle and more reach, and in our discussions with T&F we found both a recognition of the potential and the prospect that the publishing would being given the resources it needs to make the most of that potential."

Sinclair Wilson will be continuing in his post "at the moment", but will be stepping down "after the transition of the business to the new owners is complete".

Environment and sustainability specialist Earthscan was named independent publisher of the year at the IPA awards in 2010, with judges calling the publisher "solid, reliable and consistently successful" and "a yardstick by which all independents might measure themselves."