Hachette UK has announced the acquisition of Laurence King Publishing (LKP), the UK’s leading gift publisher and one of the country’s top three art publishers. This follows the signing of an agreement between the shareholders of LKP and Hachette UK on 31st August 2020.
Laurence King, Managing Director of LKP, said: “I am delighted that Hachette UK will be acquiring LKP. Hachette UK is a forward-looking, entrepreneurial company, which is known for carefully nurturing its imprints. I have no doubt that it will not only preserve LKP’s culture of aspiring to produce really exceptional, original books and gifts, but will also be able to take further LKP’s recent successful initiatives, such as its German subsidiary, Laurence King Verlag. While I am obviously sad to be leaving a company that I have spent so many decades building, it is very good to know that it will be in such safe and thoughtful hands.”
David Shelley, CEO of Hachette UK, said: “I have for a long time admired LKP from afar. The creativity, dynamism and consumer focus of the business Laurence King has built up over the past 29 years is inspiring, and the company is exceptionally strong in a wide range of fields including art, architecture, design, fashion, film and photography, as well as children’s books. One area I am particularly excited about is LKP’s gift publishing, which has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years.
“As well as acquiring companies that publish brilliant books, at Hachette UK we like to acquire companies we can learn from, and I think there is a huge amount we can learn from LKP. I am really looking forward to working with the talented team there and to welcoming the fantastic list of authors. I hope we will be able to help the company to go from strength to strength in the years to come and to honour Laurence’s unique publishing vision.”
Established in London in 1991, LKP is recognised as one of the world’s leading publishers of books and gifts on the creative arts. It works with some of the world’s best illustrators, designers, artists and photographers to create beautifully produced books and gifts, which are acclaimed for their inventiveness, design and authoritative texts. These include Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest adult colouring books, which have sold more than 16 million copies globally to date. In recent years, LKP has become well-known for its gift products, including the hugely successful Bird Bingo and other games.
Following the acquisition, LKP’s gift, trade and art publishing will become an imprint of Orion Publishing Group. LKP’s student and professional publishing will become an imprint of Quercus and LKP’s children’s publishing will become part of Hachette Children’s Group.
Katie Espiner, Managing Director of Orion Publishing Group, said: “We have been looking at how best to grow our excellent commercial non-fiction lists at Orion, as well as looking beyond the book, and LKP is a perfect fit for us. The team are experts in their field and have enjoyed huge, profitable growth with their innovative and creative publishing. I know LKP will go from strength to strength under the aegis of Anna Valentine, and will perfectly complement our broad range of non-fiction publishing on the Trapeze, Seven Dials and Orion Spring lists.”
Jon Butler, Managing Director of Quercus, said: “I’m so pleased to welcome LKP’s student and professional list to Quercus. They have such a strong reputation for making bold, beautiful, essential books, always at the leading edge of what is possible. I can’t wait to get to know their staff and authors better, and to find exciting new ways to blend their expertise with Quercus’s own DNA of daring, creative publishing.”
Hilary Murray Hill, CEO of Hachette Children’s Group, said: “I am thrilled LKP’s children’s books will become part of the Hachette Children’s Group. The commitment to quality, imagination and innovation is manifest in everything they have published, and I am looking forward to working with new colleagues and creative contributors in developing bestselling non-fiction, which is at the heart of our programme.”
The acquisition of LKP is part of Hachette UK’s longer-term strategy to diversify into specialist areas by acquiring publishers who are leaders in their field, including Bookouture, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Summersdale and Short Books over the last three years.