Osprey buys British Wildlife Publishing

Osprey buys British Wildlife Publishing

Osprey is continuing its acquisitions-led growth strategy, with the purchase of British Wildlife Publishing from its founders Andrew and Anne Branson.

The company will become part of Osprey's Heritage Division, which comprises Shire Publications and Old House Books & Maps, publisher of Bradshaw’s Handbook, 1863. It is Osprey's third acquisition in the past two years, following Angry Robot and Duncan Baird.

Established in 1989, British Wildlife Publishing (BWP) produces two magazines, as well as its own list of respected field guides and books on British natural history. The Dorset-based company will relocate to Osprey's Oxford offices, with the two founders taking a break from publishing. Under the leadership of Heritage m.d. and publisher Nick Wright, BWP will continue its existing publishing programme, with growth expected from increased exposure to sales channels that have thus far remained untapped.

Wright said: "It is very exciting, and no small responsibility, to take on a list that has been so carefully developed and nurtured over the years. It is not easy to discern a wrong step in anything that BWP has done, which sets the bar pretty high for Osprey.

"But we believe that we can bring our experience, market and greater resources to BWP to take it to the next level, setting it up for  the next 25 years of service to the natural history community and the British countryside." Both magazines will continue to be published with no change in content, format or scheduling, and the existing book programme will continue to grow and develop.

BWP co-founder Andrew Branson said: "Anne and I are proud of the legacy we have created with British Wildlife Publishing over the past quarter of a century. We believe it is now in safe hands with the Osprey Group. Osprey’s understanding of the needs of different market sectors, combining real expertise with first rate presentation, is something that we appreciate and feel that BWP has achieved in equal measure."

Osprey Group publishes in four divisions, military (Osprey), fiction (Angry Robot, Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A), wellbeing (Watkins) and heritage (Shire and Old House). In 2012 published accounts showed that it grew sales from £7m to £10.6m, with a large portion coming via the acquisition of Duncan Baird Publishers in the middle of the year, as well as organic growth.

The latest deal was brokered by Prism Consult, the specialist media M&A consultancy.