The Quarto Group has acquired Lewes-based publisher Ivy Press for £1.3m, as well as taking on £200,000 of debt.
Quarto subsidiary Quarto Publishing has entered into a conditional agreement for the purchase of Ivy Press' owner, Lewes Holding Ltd. The acquisition is conditional based on the approval of the Bank of Scotland, which has been a lender to the Ivy Press.
The Ivy Press was founded in 1996 by Peter Bridgewater and Jenny Manstead, and later joined by Alastair Campbell, publisher of sister company Ilex and Stephen Paul, group m.d. since 2005. Ilex was sold last year to Hachette's Octopus Publishing Group.
Books from Ivy Press, focusing on illustrated titles, are released under three imprints, Ivy Press, Ivy Reference and Leaping Hare. Its 30-Second Series is printed in 23 languages, and its books have been distributed by Thames & Hudson since 2012.
Manstead, who owns 47.5% of Lewes Holding Ltd, is the wife of one of Quarto's non-executive directors, Bob Morley, meaning the acquisition is deemed a "related party transaction", but does not require shareholder approval.
Quarto said that excluding initial one-off costs of $0.5m, the acquisition would be earnings-enhancing, with the total consideration of £1.3m paid in three stages – on completion, on 1st July 2015 and 4th January 2016.
Quarto c.e.o. Marcus Leaver said: "We are delighted to welcome the Ivy team to The Quarto Group. We have long admired their creativity and innovation. Ivy’s presence will further underline our Quarto International Co-Editions division as the market leader. Further, we are pleased that Jenny Manstead, one of Ivy’s co- founders, is returning to Quarto after spending time with us earlier in her career."
Manstead said: "This is exactly the right move for Ivy at the right time. Becoming part of a £100 million international publishing group gives us a solid, secure platform from which to develop our publishing programme with the right resources and the right support. With such a solid infrastructure behind us, we will be in a much better position to capitalise on our strengths and exploit every available opportunity."
Bridgewater, who sold his design consultancy Bridgewater Design to Quarto in 1989 before co-founding The Ivy Press, said: “Quarto has been pivotal to my career over many years. I’m proud that the publishing company I’ve helped to build can enjoy their security and support going forward.”