Canongate Acquires Severn House Publishers

Canongate Books has acquired Severn House Publishers from owner Edwin Buckhalter and his family for an undisclosed price. The Bookseller reported that Buckhalter, who founded the publisher in 1974, and Mandy Shaw will remain as consultants but step down as chairman and company secretary respectively.

The four remaining members of the Severn House staff, including publisher Kate Lyall Grant, will continue in their roles and move into Canongate's west London offices. Kate Gibb, until recently Canongate's finance and operations director, has been promoted to COO of Canongate and will sit on the Severn House board of directors with Canongate's CEO Jamie Byng and chair David Young.

Describing Severn House as "a very impressive publishing operation," Byng said he has "great admiration for Edwin and the manner in which he has grown his company into such a successful and interesting business with an excellent team of staff and a terrific list of authors. When we were presented with this opportunity to buy Severn House, it became clear very quickly that the two companies were extremely complementary and I am delighted, as are the Canongate board and shareholders, that we have concluded this deal."

Buckhalter commented: "It is no secret that I am long past retirement age, and recently we have been approached by several companies (for acquisition) on both sides of the Atlantic. But when we were introduced to Canongate, it was immediately obvious that this was a perfect fit for two apparently disparate lists. I have always been impressed by Canongate's creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and fierce independence, and I am confident that their youthful outlook and energy will add new dimensions and potential for our authors."

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