Penguin Group buys 45% of Companhia das Letras

Penguin Group buys 45% of Companhia das Letras

The Penguin Group has bought a 45% stake in Brazil's leading trade publisher, Companhia das Letras.

The Sao Paolo-based publishing house, established 25 years ago by Luiz Schwarcz, publishes prominent Brazilian authors including Euclides da Cunha and Jorge Amado. The remaining 55% of the company remains in the hands of current owners Schwarcz and the Moreira Salles family.

Penguin has an established relationship with Companhia das Letras as it is publishing partner for Portuguese classics in the Penguin Companhia joint venture.

In a note to staff, Penguin Group chairman and chief executive John Makinson said: "In common with the rest of Pearson, we are keen to develop growth opportunities in the key emerging markets of Brazil, India and China. Brazil has been the one gap in the Penguin portfolio and this investment gives us a stronger position in the country than any other international trade publisher."

Makinson said Penguin would learn an enormous amount from Schwarcz both about Brazil and also about how to build publishing houses in high growth markets. "He and his colleagues will, in turn, benefit from Pearson's significant presence in the Brazilian education market (education is a big channel for trade books in Brazil), from Penguin's experience of navigating the transition from physical to digital books and channels (sure to be a really important issue in Brazil over the next few years), and from the greater range of our publishing in both adult and children's markets," he added.

No details were released on the finances of the acquisition.