Holtzbrinck Publishing Group and BC Partners have reached an agreement to merge Springer Science+Business Media (owned by funds advised by BCP) with the majority of Holtzbrinck-owned Macmillan Science and Education, namely Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan and the global businesses of Macmillan Education.
The new group, which will have a turnover estimated at €1.5bn and 13,000 employees, will be under the joint control of Holtzbrinck and funds advised by BCP, with Holtzbrinck retaining a 53% share. The merger vaults the new group above McGraw-Hill (€1.4bn), Cengage (ca. €1.3bn) and Wiley (€1.3bn) to become the fourth biggest STM and Education publisher after Pearson (€5.6bn), Reed Elsevier (€4.4bn) and Wolters Kluwer (€3.6bn).
Derk Haank – currently Springer c.e.o. - will take the c.e.o. role, with Annette Thomas – currently c.e.o. of Macmillan Science and Education – stepping into the role of chief scientific officer. Two more Springer executives will be on the management board: Martin Mos will be chief operating officer and Ulrich Vest chief financial officer.
The supervisory board will be composed of Stefan von Holtzbrinck (Chairman/Holtzbrinck), Ewald Walgenbach (Vice-Chairman/BCP), Michael Brockhaus (Holtzbrinck), Hans Haderer (BCP), Christian Mogge (BCP) and Jens Schwanewedel (Holtzbrinck).
Not included in the merger are Macmillan New Ventures, Digital Science and Digital Education (the Macmillan Science and Education technology and software businesses), the Macmillan Education US higher education business (Bedford, Freeman, Worth), Holtzbrinck Ventures and Holtzbrinck Digital, Information and Services; or Macmillan Publishers, the global consumer books division of Holtzbrinck, including Holtzbrinck Deutsche Buchverlage and J B Metzler.
In a joint statement, the companies said: "This is a strategic transaction by Holtzbrinck and BCP aimed at securing the long-term growth of both businesses. It will create a leading global science and education publishing house with the opportunity to better serve its authors, the research community, academic institutions, learned societies and corporate research departments, as well as to extend its reach within the education and learning markets. Both companies have a highly complementary portfolio in terms of products (journals, books, databases and workflow tools) and end-markets (academic institutions, corporate research departments and individuals). The merged businesses will continue to offer the leading brands on which researchers, teachers and information professionals rely."
The transaction is subject to approval by competition authorities, expected during the first half of 2015.
Stefan von Holtzbrinck, c.e.o. of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, said: “Improving communication, outcomes and careers for researchers, teachers and professionals has always been at the heart of our ambitions. By sharing the same vision, by combining creativity and innovation, and by enlarging scale, the merger of these highly prestigious publishing houses will meet the desires and expectations of our customers with diligence, care and speed. The combination is a big and exciting step into the future and a clear opportunity for all - for our customers, for our great teams in all parts of the world, for the development of the publishing houses involved and also for the family-owned Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. I am very much looking forward to working together on our continued commitment to quality, first-rate services and success with our new partners from BC Partners and Springer Science+Business Media and a superb, enlarged management team in the newly forged entity.”
Ewald Walgenbach, managing partner of BC Partners, said the joint venture was "a strategic milestone in the more than 150 year history of both businesses and shows how family businesses and private equity can work together and support businesses in positioning themselves for future growth."
Annette Thomas, CEO of Macmillan Science and Education, said: “We created the Macmillan Science and Education group two years ago and have been focused on transforming the way we work in order to better meet the needs of researchers, teachers and students. It’s a tremendously exciting time to be working in the sector as we enter a new, globally connected and collaborative age. Put simply, technological change means that we can better fulfil our founding purpose – to connect those with information to those who want to learn and discover more – in new and myriad ways. Taking a progressive, innovative and bold approach that challenges the status quo, our aim has been to combine world-class content with world-class technology solutions, whilst putting the customer experience at the centre of what we do. I’m very excited to now have the opportunity not only to continue to realise our ambitions, but to amplify our impact and accelerate our progress as a member of Derk Haank’s team going forward.”
Springer c.e.o. Derk Haank, said: “Combined, these two companies, both deeply rooted in a strong publishing tradition, offer breadth, volume and reach. Springer, in its current form, owes a significant part of its success to the investments made possible under private equity over the past ten years. With the arrival of Holtzbrinck as an anchor investor, a new phase of our long-term development will begin and I also very much look forward to working with Annette Thomas, who will be joining the management board as Chief Scientific Officer and who has spent the past seven years successfully leading Macmillan. Together, we will be able to offer authors and contributors more publishing opportunities and institutional libraries and individual buyers will have more choice. The expected economies of scale will allow for additional investments in new product development. Furthermore, we are also committed not only to the educational publishing assets, but also to the local professional and science programmes, and we will seek to grow these.”