Art and cookery specialist Phaidon Press is up for sale, with owner Richard Schlagman looking for another owner to lead its transition from print to digital.
Investment bank Greenhill has been appointed to conduct the sale, and is understood to be in the early stages of the auction process, sending out information to prospective buyers, according to reports.
According to Companies House, Phaidon's annual revenues were up 17% in the year to June 2011, to £25m, with a pre-tax profit of £411,000 for the year, following a pre-tax loss of £149,000 for the previous year.
In July 2011, Schlagman put £4m into the the publisher through his company, majority shareholder Phaidon Limited, in order to repay a deep discount bond issued in 2003.
Schlagman told the Financial Times that Phaidon has secured electronic rights to its backlist of titles, but had so far just "dipped a toe in the water" of e-books. He said: "It's a very, very nice activity and I think that will command a lot of interest."
Schlagman bought Phaidon from receivership in 1990 after seeing an advert for it in the Financial Times, and is reported in the paper as saying the auction could attract offers from larger publishers, art-world participants or technology companies. Since Schlagman bought the art publisher, its list has diversified to take in children's and cookery titles, with offices in New York and Paris as well as London.
The house was founded in Vienna in 1923, but moved to London in the late 1930s.