Bloomsbury buys Continuum

Bloomsbury buys Continuum

Bloomsbury has bought academic publisher Continuum in a deal worth £20.1m.

The publisher described the buy, its sixth in the academic and professional field during the past five years, as "transformational" and said it would provide synergies as well as the ability to improve sales. It said this would be particularly applicable to the US market, where Bloomsbury would now have an academic editorial and marketing team for the first time following the buy.

Bloomsbury said the acquisition was part of its strategy to increase its proportion of academic and professional revenues. It said this area was more predictable, had lower related costs of sale, higher margins and were less reliant on retail bookshop sales. Bloomsbury said it would move the Continuum business in due course from its current offices in Waterloo to its new home in Bedford Square. Oliver Gadsby, chief executive of Continuum, will be staying with the business for a few months to assist with the integration process.

According to unaudited figures, Continuum was forecasting earnings before interest, tax and amortisation of £0.6m for the year ending 30th June on a turnover of £10.7m. Bloomsbury said there are potential cost synergies of £1m in its first full year. For the year ending 30th June 2010, sales were £10.6m and it made a loss before taxation of £1.2m. Continuum was also awarded the Independent Publishers' Group publisher of the year and academic and professional publisher of the year awards at the IPG conference earlier this year.

Bloomsbury chief executive Nigel Newton said: "The acquisition of Continuum is a transformational step in the delivery of a long held strategic objective to grow our academic publishing. It is complementary to, and will substantially enhance, our academic business, in particular giving it significantly more power in the US, helping to expand our increasing global market. Our growing proportion of academic and professional revenues will increase profit margins and give our results more stability. Our strategic direction towards academic and professional publishing is vindicated by the market place of 2011."

Gadsby added: "Continuum has a leading position in academic publishing, with a thriving backlist, a huge number of authors who are leading authorities in their field, a vibrant digital story, and - above all - an excellent team in London and New York. I am delighted that Continuum is finding a new home with Bloomsbury, a company we all admire. I am confident that the lists and teams of the two companies will make a powerful combination, capable of playing a major role in the academic publishing landscape in the years ahead."

Frances Pinter will continue as publisher of the Winston Churchill Archive Online, though having successfully founded the Bloomsbury Academic list, she is relinquishing this role to pursue her other open access projects.

The publisher announced the deal in its interim management statement this morning, covering the period from 1st March to date.