News Corp completes Houghton Mifflin Harcourt consumer division deal

From The Bookseller:

HarperCollins owner News Corp has completed its $349m (£252m) acquisition of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s consumer division.

The deal, first announced in March, sees the HMH Books & media business operated by HarperCollins in the US.

HMH Books & Media has a backlist of more than 7,000 titles and a significant frontlist in the lifestyle and children’s segments. Popular HMH Books & Media titles include 1984 and Animal Farm, Curious George, The Polar Express, Little Blue Truck and The Little Prince. The acquisition gives HarperCollins US rights to J R R Tolkien’s works, meaning the publisher now has global English language rights to titles like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Brian Murray, president and c.e.o. of HarperCollins, said: “We are happy to welcome HMH Books & Media employees, authors, and illustrators to the HarperCollins family. Uniting two publishing companies, each with more than 200 years of literary history, will be the focus of our combined teams. We look forward to new and exciting opportunities as we chart a stronger future together.”

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt issued a press release concerning the dumping of its commercial book business. An excerpt:

“This divestiture enables us to focus singularly on serving the large and growing K­­­–12 education market and simultaneously extend our impact on student achievement,” said Jack Lynch, President and CEO, HMH. “With a highly differentiated end-to-end technology platform underpinning our solutions, we are uniquely positioned to meet the need for purposeful digital learning and to enhance the value we provide to our customers—which include 90 percent of the nation’s schools—and create for our shareholders. Importantly, the transaction also enables us to transform our capital structure and create flexibility, as a result of our ability to pay down a significant portion of our debt.”

The sub-head of the press release read:

Establishes HMH as a pure-play K­­­–12 learning technology company

Link to the rest at HMH

PG suggests the subtext of the subhead would read something like, “Please, please, please give is a decent stock-market valuation now that we’ve dumped our boat anchor traditional trade-publishing business on someone else!”

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