Bloomsbury Publishing Plc Acquires Hart Publishing Limited

Posted: 3rd September 2013 10:09

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc ("Bloomsbury") announces that it has today completed the acquisition of the issued share capital of Hart Publishing Ltd ("Hart"), the Oxford-based legal publisher, from the management shareholders. The initial consideration of £6.5 million (which is subject to working capital adjustments) was paid in cash on completion from Bloomsbury's own cash reserves.
A further cash consideration of up to a maximum of £0.5 million will be payable on the achievement of certain revenue and title number targets for the period ending 31 March 2014. The acquisition is expected to generate cost savings and be immediately earnings enhancing contributing approximately £1.4 million of revenue to Bloomsbury in the year ending 28 February 2014.
The acquisition is consistent with Bloomsbury's strategy to increase its proportion of academic and professional revenues to 50% of total sales in five years' time. Academic and professional revenues are more predictable and have lower related costs of sale with higher margins and are much less reliant on retail bookshop sales. Around 50% of Hart's revenue is generated outside the UK, thereby increasing Bloomsbury's benefit from the global book market. The acquisition will also enable the Company to further develop its e-book publishing and expand the Bloomsbury Professional digital suite of services.
Hart was founded in 1996 and has developed a world class academic list with leading authors including Michael Fordham QC, Andrew Burrows, Grainne de Burca, JW Carter, Peter Cane, Simon Deakin, Vernon Bogdanor, Robert O'Donoghue, Philip Coppel QC and Michael Beloff QC amongst others. Hart generated £2.6 million of revenue and £0.5 million of profit before tax in the year ended 31 March 2013. Gross assets at that date were £1.4 million.
The Hart lists are highly complementary to Bloomsbury's existing academic and professional lists, offering Bloomsbury the ability to enhance revenue momentum within its Academic & Professional division in the UK and overseas markets.
In 2009 Hart won the Independent Publishing Guild's Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year and in 2012 was highly commended in the Book Industry Award's Academic and Educational and Professional Publisher Academic of the Year.
Richard Hart, Managing Director of Hart Publishing Ltd, commented:
"Hart has a leading position in academic legal publishing, with a thriving backlist, a huge number of authors who are leading authorities in their field, a dynamic digital programme, and - above all - an excellent team in Oxford. I am delighted that Hart is finding a new home with Bloomsbury, a company we all admire. I am confident that the lists and teams of the two companies will make a powerful combination, capable of playing a major role in the academic legal publishing landscape in the years ahead."
Nigel Newton, Chief Executive of Bloomsbury commented:
"The acquisition of Hart increases our presence in the academic and professional market and is a significant step forward in achieving our ambition of generating 50% of turnover from this important sector. It is complementary to, and will substantially enhance, Bloomsbury Professional, in particular increasing the division's international sales. Our growing proportion of academic and professional revenues will increase profit margins and give our results more stability. The mix of digital and subscription based services that can be built out of the acquisition are hugely exciting and will provide good financial returns."

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