Blackwell merger leads to lay-offs

<p>A first wave of redundancies has hit Wiley-Blackwell as the newly merged American and UK-based publishing groups integrate their teams. Up to 50 jobs in the worldwide business are believed to have gone.</p><p>Susan Spilka, Wiley&#39;s corporate communications director, declined to confirm the number of job losses, but said: &quot;We are reorganising on a global structure and that has created some redundancies. We realise this has caused some pain.&quot; She added: &quot;There has been hiring as well as firing. We are following a best practice approach where colleagues from both Wiley and Blackwell have been promoted to positions of responsibility.&quot;</p><p>Wiley acquired Blackwell Publishing in November 2006 for &pound;572m, creating the world&#39;s second-largest STM publisher, renamed as Wiley-Blackwell. The companies&#39; combined turnover is about &pound;420m, and they have around 1,200 UK employees, in Wiley&#39;s Chichester and Blackwell&#39;s Oxford bases. </p><p>The Wiley-Blackwell transition is being overseen by Blackwell c.e.o. Rene Olivieri and Wiley Europe chief operating officer Steve Smith. A transition team is looking at staffing, location and structure and is currently integrating the two companies along product lines. It has already completed the restructure of the world book sales force, which has seen Blackwell&#39;s UK sales reps incorporated into Wiley&#39;s.</p><p>The deal will also hit Blackwell&#39;s current distributor Marston Book Services. In February 2008, Blackwell will switch distribution to Wiley&#39;s distribution centre in Bognor Regis. The Blackwell&#39;s business represents about 25% of Marston&#39;s turnover. Marston chairman John Halloran said: &quot;We&#39;re very sorry to see Blackwell&#39;s go, of course. But this has been trailed for a long time and we&#39;ve prepared for it. The only thing it will really do is slow our growth.&quot;</p><p>Halloran does not expect any redundancies in his 150-strong workforce as a result of the loss. &quot;In fact, we are increasing our staff numbers as we look to take more and more publishers on,&quot; he said. In the past three years, Marston has added 45 clients and now distributes 65 publishers.</p><p>Halloran and m.d. Ross Clayton bought Marston from the Blackwell group seven years ago for &pound;63,464, signing an eight-year deal to continue to distribute the publisher. In 2005 it had a turnover of &pound;9.6m with a profit of just under &pound;1.1m.<br /> </p>