Chester Investment Group has acquired a majority shareholding in independent publisher Urbane Publications.
Urbane is the first investment into publishing by Chester, founded by serial entrepreneur and inventor, Christopher Lowery. Lowery has been appointed Urbane’s chairman. Meanwhile Chester m.d. Kerry-Jane Lowery - a writer, editor, photographer, and former humanitarian aid worker - will take up the role of Urbane m.d. She will work alongside Smith who will continue in his role as publishing director.
Urbane was founded in 2014 by publisher Matthew Smith, who started as a Waterstones bookseller before editorial roles at Routledge and Hodder, and editorial director positions with Arcturus, Pearson and Kogan Page. The company has grown "rapidly", publishing over 100 authors and a number of successful titles, including Hugh Fraser’s Rina Walker thriller series, Laura Wake’s Polari longlisted A Monster by Violet, and the CMI shortlisted Mote by David Wethey, the publisher has said.
“In just three years, Urbane has grown from a few select authors to publishing over 50 titles a year worldwide", Smith said. "There are huge opportunities for further growth and development, and we have ambitions to be one of the UK’s leading independent publishers. The support, resources and knowledge provided by Chester’s investment will not only be of huge benefit to authors and readers, but give Urbane the platform it needs to expand further and deliver publishing success with confidence. And from a personal point of view I’m thrilled that all the hard work and collaborative efforts in building Urbane will now be rewarded with genuine opportunities for growth.”
“Chester Investment Group is very excited by the prospect of helping Urbane become a leading brand in the industry,” Kerry-Jane Lowery said. “We already have a number of plans for continued growth and personally, as a writer and a creative, working with Matthew will be a great experience. I’m looking forward to contributing to make Urbane – and our authors - household names.”
The Urbane board of directors will also be joined by David Wethey, author and founder of Agency Assessments International (AAI,) which advises large advertisers on appointing communications agencies and building productive partnerships with them and has undertaken projects in more than 40 countries.
Smith said: “We’re hitting the ground running and will be working hard over the summer on a number of new developments, as well as confirming our plans for significant list expansion in 2018 and 2019. Watch this space!”