ILP acquires 12 literary estates in eight-figure deal

ILP acquires 12 literary estates in eight-figure deal

International Literary Properties has acquired 12 literary estates from Peters, Fraser + Dunlop, including those of Evelyn Waugh and Georges Simenon, in an eight-figure deal.

Hilary Strong, ILP's UK c.e.o., brokered the deal. ILP acquired the rights formerly held by the agency PFD for the literary estates of Waugh, Simenon, Eric Ambler, Margery Allingham, Edmund Crispin, Dennis Wheatley, Robert Bolt, Richard Hull, George Bellairs, Nicolas Freeling, John Creasey and Michael Innes.

The deal is the first major slate of acquisitions announced by the London and New York-based business, which launched late last year with former literary agent Scott Hoffman at the helm as group c.e.o. and media entrepreneur Ted Green, former c.e.o. of RLJ Entertainment, as executive chairman. Holding responsibility for the UK and Europe are Strong, former c.e.o. of the Agatha Christie estate, and Anthology Group founder Bob Benton. 

The company said its aim is to purchase copyrights and cashflows from literary estates or living authors seeking liquidity and financial certainty "in a rapidly changing book publishing environment". On announcing the deal today (2nd June), it said it will "pro­actively manage the estates it buys or buys into, working with agents to support their exploitation across all media platforms". 

Strong said the new acquisitions marked "a very important step for us in building the business".

She said: "International Literary Properties was formed late last year, bringing together an incredible team with many decades of experience in literary, TV, film, music and theatre management and exploitation. This major acquisition plays to the team’s experience and strengths and I am truly excited by the opportunity to nurture these 12 wonderful estates and to find new and exciting ways of telling the great stories that lie within them."

Hoffman, group c.e.o. ILP, said: "When we launched ILP, it was our vision to build a portfolio of some of the world’s most important and iconic literary works with an eye toward preserving their creators’ legacies and ensuring they would bring enjoyment to readers for decades to come. This acquisition is a major step toward that goal. We’re grateful to Peters, Fraser + Dunlop for the work done during their tenure as guardian of these storied estates; to the publishers, producers and broadcasters who are our partners in bringing them to readers and viewers; and most of all to the authors themselves for creating these timeless characters and stories."

The sale sees ILP acquire PFD’s shareholdings in the estates, which according to PFD will give its agency the opportunity to search actively for new estates to drive value and develop the potential across all platforms in all territories. 

With PFD continuing to act as literary agent for all 12 estates, Caroline Michel, c.e.o. of PFD, commented on the deal: "Alongside our authors, representing estates is at the beating heart of our business as agents. With the sale of these estates, we will be able to refocus on our agency model for the benefit of our authors and the owners of estates. We are thrilled to continue our representation of the estates now owned by ILP."