Bhatia reveals big plans for Little Tiger

Bhatia reveals big plans for Little Tiger

Little Tiger Group is hoping to increase staff numbers rather than cut jobs after its recent buyout by Penguin Random House US, c.e.o. Monty Bhatia told The Bookseller.

"I’ve never cut jobs in my life," said Bhatia, who stressed that the deal means growth for Little Tiger, the UK-based indie that started life as Magi Publications in 1987. "PRH will introduce us to its global partners. Our growth will come from a mixture of global deals but also expanding the number of people we employ [in order] to expand the list. We also want to grow in trade publishing."

Little Tiger Group produces around 200 books a year and its last published accounts showed full-year turnover of £19.7m. Little Tiger Press makes up around half of the business, Caterpillar 40%, with Little Tiger Kids and Stripes generating the rest. Around three-quarters of the group’s turnover comes from outside the UK, which is advantageous to PRH US, said Bhatia, as the deal will fuel its global reach as well as Little Tiger’s. "PRH US, like all US companies, has a vast market on its doorstep and for most US companies looking further afield isn’t a priority," he said. "We are both going to benefit."

Bhatia said he sold to PRH US because of his longstanding relationship with Barbara Marcus, president and publisher of Random House Children’s Books in the US. "Barbara and I go back a long time and we’ve always kept in touch," he said. "When we started to think about a deal, the only partner I wanted to talk to was her. We were always clear that we would continue to run things as they are here... Only now, I have a boss!"

When asked why he struck a deal with PRH in the US and not in the UK, Bhatia said: "I’ve known Francesca Dow [m.d. of PRH Children’s UK] for years. We have a mutual respect for each other but we are separate and plan to remain separate."