Quarto snaps up Frances Lincoln

Quarto snaps up Frances Lincoln

Co-edition publisher Quarto has bought children's and horticultural publisher Frances Lincoln for £4.5m.

The cash deal was announced this morning as Quarto also revealed its interim results for the six months ending 30th June 2011. Sales were up 5% to $72.5m (£44.4m) and profit before tax increased 21% to $1.4m (£857,000).

Commenting on the Frances Lincoln acquisition, chairman and c.e.o. Laurence Orbach said: "Frances Lincoln is a highly respected publishing business particularly well known as the publisher of Alfred Wainwright, Julia Bradbury, Christopher Lloyd and many other well regarded authors. It complements Quarto's existing UK publishing business, several imprints trading under the Aurum name, and more than doubles the scale of our presence in the UK. The acquisition is in keeping with our strategy to further expand our already broad offering of niche content."

Managing director John Nicoll will stay in charge during the transitional period and then work as a consultant. David Graham, m.d. of Quarto imprint Aurum, will head the transition team. Orbach said: "Editorially, and creatively, the lists will retain their distinctive approaches but we anticipate that we shall be able to make some useful savings in the administration of the businesses." He added Quarto was still seeking to acquire other businesses.

In its financial results, Quarto's international co-edition revenues were up 12% to $21m (£12.9m), with operating profit up 17% to $0.8m (£490,000). The publisher said this was a good performance in the face of "considerable retail weakness" and also in its traditionally quieter half of the year.

It said its book publishing business benefited from the first contribution of Cool Springs Press, the gardening imprint bought in February. Sales were up 3% to $51.6m (£31.6m) and operating income was up 4% to $4.3m (£2.6m).

Orbach reiterated his longstanding belief in the durability of bricks and mortar bookshops, despite the move to digital. He said: "A good local bookseller, such as Daunt Books in the UK, is a destination store attracting readers who browse and linger, and will continue to do so because the selection and presentation of the titles is so exciting. Online retailing will remain a competitive challenge and canny booksellers will have to pay attention to their local demographics, and carry exciting ranges of books. What will be difficult for publishers is that they will have to discover new ways to market their titles to the intended audiences."