For lack of thrushes, Lagardère will eat blackbirds across the Atlantic. The French group dreamed of acquiring Simon & Schuster, the prestigious house founded in 1924 which published Ernest Hemingway or Francis Scott Fitzgerald and today publishes Hillary Clinton, John Irving, Bob Woodward, Stephen King and Don DeLillo. This major player in the United States was blown away in November 2020 for 2.175 billion dollars (1.84 billion euros) by Penguin Random House, a subsidiary of the Bertelsmann group.
In the midst of summer torpor, Hachette Book Group, the American subsidiary of Hachette Livre announced on Monday August 16 the upcoming acquisition of the American publisher Workman Publishing, a specialist in children’s books and practical life, for 240 million dollars. A small consolation prize. This independent New York-based publishing house was founded in 1968 by die-hard poker player, travel enthusiast and Yale graduate, Peter Workman. He embarked on the adventure with a manual of yoga exercises, the success of which is still not denied. Peter Workman and his wife Carolan have branched out and established themselves in children’s books and cookery, gardening, travel and personal development books.
Among the flagship titles of the house are the globally successful pregnancy and early childhood guides What to Expect, by Heidi Murkoff, or the bestseller 1,000 Places to See Before You Die (“1,000 places to visit before you die”), by Patricia Schultz. Titles that continue to sell massively and on a recurring basis, thanks to editions that have been updated over the years.
Leverage “strong brands”
Workman also markets a collection of bestselling calendars, comedy books, gift books, and a bit of fiction. When Peter Workman died in 2013, Carolan took over as executive chairman and it was she who sought to sell the company.
“In a context of strong market consolidation, this transaction will allow Hachette Livre to significantly increase Hachette Book Group’s presence in the United States”, but also of “Strengthen its positions in youth”, specifies the Lagardère group. The French publisher, third in the world, wishes to take advantage of “The reputation of the publishing house [américaine] with its partners ”, and “Powerful brands” that she owns.
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