Bonnier-owned Templar Publishing has bought fellow children's publisher Piccadilly Press, with founder Brenda Gardner to remain as publisher.
Piccadilly Press, which has more than 200 titles in print, will continue to publish under its own imprint, with Gardner to report to Templar m.d. Mike McGrath. However, Piccadilly Press will use the creative, sales and administrative resources of Templar Publishing and the Bonnier Group.
Bonnier Publishing chief executive Richard Johnson said discussions were taking place today [1st February] with Piccadilly staff whose jobs might be affected by the move, with Gardner saying that herself and her assistant are the only full-time employees still on staff at Piccadilly Press and will both be moving across to work at the Templar offices in Dorking. There are two other staff members, both part-time workers, whose roles will most likely be made redundant, but Gardner said it was likely they would become freelance workers for the new Templar-owned Piccadilly.
Gardner said: "Part of the problem is that they are based in Dorking, and we are north London, so it is a long way for people to commute. Some people's jobs will be very much diminished, but I have promised that there will be lots of freelance work."
Gardner said the decision to sell was not easy, but said: "It was a combination of a lot of things—it is a very tough market out there and harder to find market share, and going in with someone means cutting down on overheads, sharing facilities, and making sure you have some of their muscle power. It seemed a very good fit."
She added: "I am delighted to become part of Templar and look forward to working with Mike McGrath and Amanda Wood. The resources Templar bring will allow Piccadilly to strengthen and grow its position in the children's book market."
McGrath said: "Piccadilly publishing will complement Templar's existing lists and help strengthen its developing children's fiction. Brenda will add an additional creative strength to the Templar management team."
Bonnier Publishing chief executive Richard Johnson said the move "will further help strengthen our position in the children's book market and once again demonstrate our commitment to significant growth".
He added: "Essentially our strategy actually is still the move to adult publishing as we have the full breadth of children's publishing now, but the opportunity came along for Piccadilly at the end of last year, and it was just too good an opportunity to miss-and actually we would not turn down another Piccadilly if it came along, where we can see it would fit into our wider strategy. Everything came together, it was a perfect storm of things, and Brenda is a highly well-regarded individual."