HarperCollins UK to acquire Pavilion Books as Powell retains two imprints

HarperCollins UK to acquire Pavilion Books as Powell retains two imprints

HarperCollins UK is buying Pavilion Books, in a deal which will see it acquire the imprints Collins & Brown, Pavilion, Portico, Robson, National Trust and Pavilion Children’s.

The Batsford and Pitkin imprints will be retained by owner and publisher Polly Powell (pictured) as B T Batsford, which will remain as a standalone, privately owned business. The transaction is set to complete on 30th November 2021. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

On completion, Pavilion’s adult non-fiction publishing will move into the HQ and Mills & Boon division under executive publisher Lisa Milton as Pavilion, apart from National Trust publishing, which will go into Collins Learning, led by Collins Learning managing director Alex Beecroft. The children’s list will be published by the Farshore imprint under executive publisher Cally Poplak. 

Polly Powell, publisher and owner of Pavilion Books, said she was "thrilled" with the move, adding she had increasingly felt that Pavilion "would be best served, and at home, under the roof of one of the big houses".

She added: "I am immensely proud of what Pavilion, and its talented staff, have achieved over the last eight years, not just in terms of sales and prizes, but also in the way that Pavilion has set the illustrated books agenda in both design and innovation. I have no doubt that, following the successful completion of the acquisition, the imprint will go from strength to strength in the very capable hands of HarperCollins."

Speaking to The Bookseller after the announcement, Powell said it had been a busy day "frantically talking to staff" but added she was "absolutely delighted by the outcome". When asked what will happen to staff at the Batsford and Pitkin imprints she said "they will all be staying where they are" and they were her priority.

It is understood that the other Pavilion employees will be integrated within HarperCollins, with the businesses consulting in the coming weeks before the deal is finalised.

Charlie Redmayne, c.e.o. of HarperCollins UK, said: "Under Polly Powell’s leadership Pavilion has thrived, and we are excited by the opportunity to welcome Pavilion’s fantastic list of innovative, illustrated non-fiction and children’s books as well as its expert team to HarperCollins. The proposed acquisition will be great news for our HQ and Mills & Boon, Collins Learning and Farshore divisions, and presents HarperCollins with a unique opportunity to diversify and grow its illustrated publishing, particularly in lifestyle, arts and crafts, and cookery—key categories in a growing market.

"We are delighted that the National Trust publishing will soon find the perfect new home with Collins Learning, who look forward to working with the team to further develop the list. The Pavilion children’s list will be a wonderful addition to Farshore, which has firmly established itself as part of the HarperCollins family since joining last May."

Powell recently spent two years at Quarto, becoming group c.e.o. there before quitting her role in July to build on the success of Pavilion Books.

In its most recent financial results, for the year ending 28th February 2021, Pavilion generated a turnover of £10.3m, in line with the previous year. Its EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) increased by more than 50% on the previous year. The company had to deal with an 80% fall in revenue from the heritage sector due to the pandemic during that period. UK turnover fell 13% but e-book sales rose 94% and the US saw an 11% increase.