Informa pays £20m for Ashgate Publishing

Informa pays £20m for Ashgate Publishing

Taylor & Francis's parent company Informa has acquired independent humanities and social sciences publisher Ashgate Publishing for £20m.  

Ashgate, based in Farnham in Surrey, has over 14,000 titles. Informa said: "Its experienced team and strong brands will be highly complementary to our other major HSS [humanities and social sciences] brand, Routledge, the world's largest English language publisher of academic content in HSS disciplines."

Informa earlier also acquired independent journals publisher Maney, which has a portfolio of 172 titles across six broad subject areas within HSS and STM, and offices in the UK and US. Informa said that the sum paid for Ashgate and Maney together reached a combined total of "around £45m".

The acquisitions are part of a strategy of targeted international expansion, Informa said, with its Academic division and Global Exhibitions business likely to remain the focus for further buys for the remainder of the year, because of "good opportunities in these markets." Informa also has Business Intelligence and Knowledge & Networking divisions.

Informa revealed the acquisition details alongside its half-year results to the end of June. Overall revenue rose 8.6% for the period to £618.8n (2% in underlying growth, boosted by acquisitions). Operating profit rose 14.2% to £190.4m.

A "consistent" performance in its Academic Publishing division in the first half of 2015 saw revenues rise 6.2% to £195m (£183.6m in 2014), with profit up 5.9% from £63m to £66.7m. Informa said underlying trends in the Academic market remained "positive" with growth in the volume of research and student numbers globally, and a consistent demand for specialist high level content. However investment in technology and content had to be upped because of changes in usage patterns and buying habits, Informa said.

Global Exhibitions saw a 38% revenue rise to £168.8m (£122.3m in 2014). Business Intelligence saw a drop of 0.6% to £138.8m, while Knowledge & Networking saw revenues slip 6.4% to £116.2m.