HarperCollins to acquire Egmont Books UK for undisclosed sum

HarperCollins has detailed its intention to acquire Egmont Books UK for an undisclosed sum, alongside Egmont’s book businesses in Poland and Schneiderbuch Germany.

The transaction is set to complete on 30th April but will not include Egmont’s magazine publishing.

According to the Bookseller, on completion, Egmont Books UK will be run as a children’s division led by its current MD Cally Poplak. Poplak will join HarperCollins UK executive committee, and will report to CEO Charlie Redmayne.

The division “will maintain its publishing autonomy and will remain in its offices for the immediate future”, HarperCollins said.

It’s been reported that the deal will create what is likely to be the biggest UK children’s publisher in terms of market share. Last year HCCB and Egmont had sales of £58.6m through BookScan in the UK, while Penguin Random House Children’s (not including DK) had sales of £57.1m.

Among Egmont’s bestsellers are its Minecraft licensed titles, including its Construction Handbook with sales of 621,014 copies, as well as Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse which sold 569,623 copies.

In Germany, Schneiderbuch will integrate into the children’s books group reporting to Carina Mathern, editorial director of HarperCollins Germany Children’s, who reports to Juergen Welte, MD of HarperCollins Germany. Egmont Books Poland will report through Agnieszka Baranska, MD of HarperCollins Poland.

Redmayne said: “The acquisition of Egmont will give us a huge opportunity to combine their existing profile and expertise in the UK and in Europe with the licensing experience and capability we already have in Suzanne Murphy’s HarperCollins US children’s business.

“This will enable us to unlock the potential of licensed publishing across the broadest international reach. We look forward to welcoming Cally and her team, and of course Egmont UK’s exceptional list, which includes iconic names such as Winnie-the-Pooh, Thomas the Tank Engine, Tintin and Mr Men, to HarperCollins UK where alongside Ann-Janine Murtagh’s record-breaking Children’s division we will continue to build an unbeatable children’s publishing proposition.”

Rasmussen added: “We have taken a  strategic decision to exit the children’s book business in UK, Poland and Schneiderbuch  in Germany, and we are pleased to announce that HarperCollins will be the  future owner of the business in these countries. I want to thank employees in all three countries that have done fantastic work over the years developing books and content at an international standard.”