Hachette Book Group buys Perseus

Hachette Book Group buys Perseus

Hachette Book Group (HBG) has announced plans to buy the publishing business of Perseus Books Group in the US, 18 months after an original acquisition deal fell through.

Perseus is owned by private equity firm Centre Lane Partners and has an office in London. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and the sale price was not disclosed.

The deal includes the sale of nine Perseus imprints - Basic, Public Affairs, Running Press, Avalon Travel, Seal Press, academic textbook publisher Westview Press, the Weinstein Books and Nation Books - comprising of around 6,000 titles. Perseus will now become a "major new publishing division" at HGB.

However, the deal does not include the sale of Perseus' distribution arm, which distributes titles for many UK independent publishers. In the failed deal 18 months ago, Ingram Content Group would have acquired Perseus’s client service businesses, which provide sales, marketing, and distribution to hundreds of independent publishers, and taken over Constellation, Perseus’ digital management and distribution service, which has a deal with Faber Factory. Publishers Marketplace has cited that "people with knowledge of the process" are expecting the confirmation of a deal for the distribution business with Ingram soon and the sale announcement yesterday (1st March) said Perseus was still in “advanced negotiations” to sell its distribution arm.

Michael Pietsch, c.e.o. of Hachette Book Group, said the acquisition is part of plans to expand its non-fiction and backlist publishing programmes, and is “especially gratifying” given that the previous acquisition failed to materialise.

He said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Perseus staff and authors to Hachette, and are confident that it will be both an excellent complement to our publishing program and a great fit for the Perseus team. Perseus has created vital and original programs across their imprints, and they are widely respected by authors, agents, booksellers, and the media. Their broad editorial vision and skill at reaching readers are impressive, and the opportunity to bring HBG’s proven sales and marketing skills to these books is exciting.”

Hachette will make Perseus, which publishes around 500 new books per year and has a backlist of 6,000 titles, a division within the company. That division will be led by Perseus executive Susan Weinberg, who will join the Hachette Book Group management board as senior v.p. and publisher of Perseus Books.

David Steinberger, president and c.e.o. of Perseus, said: “I thank my colleagues at Perseus whose tenacity and talent enabled our company to succeed, grow and innovate. We take very seriously our responsibility to our people, our authors, our books and our many clients and partners, as well as to our investors. So it is gratifying that Hachette, a company that we all admire, will be building on what we have accomplished.”

A spokesperson for Hachette UK has welcomed the move. "We warmly welcome the acquisition of Perseus Books Group by Hachette Book Group and look forward to publishing and distributing Perseus's titles in all our markets in due course," the said.

Hachette first announced its plans to buy Perseus in June 2014, although the deal was called off the following August after the companies failed to reach “agreement on everything necessary to close the transaction”..

According to the Wall Street Journal, Steinberger has said that he will leave after that sale is completed. The newspaper also said Perseus generates around $90-100m (£65-72m) in publishing revenues per annum.