Bloomsbury Buying Rowman & Littlefield's Academic Business

Bloomsbury Publishing is buying the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group's academic publishing business for $83 million, Bloomsbury's largest acquisition and "making Bloomsbury a leading U.S. academic publisher," the company said. The deal does not include Rowman & Littlefield's trade distributor National Book Network, the Globe Pequot lists (with the exception of the Applause and Backbeat imprints), the trade publishing arm, Sundance-Newbridge, and the K-8 education business.

In 2023, Rowman & Littlefield's academic business had revenues of $36 million with before-tax profit of $6 million.

Bloomsbury said that "the combined business" will publish some 97,000 titles, "creating a significant platform for further growth, cementing Bloomsbury's strong market position in core subject areas and strengthening areas where the company is building a presence such as business and psychology. The acquisition will enable us to focus the combined Bloomsbury Academic business on deeper global market penetration, subject area expansion and continued innovation in digital scholarship and learning."

In addition, the purchase will "accelerate" Bloomsbury Digital Resources as the company "applies its proven ability to create digital growth to Rowman & Littlefield's market leading titles, expanding BDR products and driving innovation."

Bloomsbury's academic division focuses on the arts, humanities and social sciences, law, business and management, and study skills. It includes Fairchild Books, Hart Publishing, I.B. Tauris, Methuen Drama, The Arden Shakespeare, T&T Clark and Zed Books. In 2021, Bloomsbury acquired Red Globe Press from Macmillan Education Limited as well as ABC-CLIO.

Bloomsbury chief executive Nigel Newton called the purchase "a game-changer for Bloomsbury. Rowman & Littlefield is one of the few independent U.S. academic publishers of such scale, and it is great that our discussions with [Rowman & Littlefield head] Jed Lyons have led to this acquisition. Their 40,000 academic titles added to ours will make us a significant U.S. academic publisher, growing Bloomsbury's academic and digital publishing presence in North America, opening new markets and publishing areas to Bloomsbury, and is a key milestone in the delivery of our long-term growth strategy."

Noting that Rowman & Littlefield is marking its 75th anniversary this year, president and CEO Jed Lyons, said, "When Nigel Newton approached me and described his vision for how our academic businesses would complement Bloomsbury's academic business, it soon became clear that there is a compelling fit. The superb publishing team that runs the Rowman & Littlefield academic business will find a welcoming home at Bloomsbury and our authors will benefit from the global reach of Bloomsbury's."

Bloomsbury US president Sabrina McCarthy commented, "The acquisition of the academic imprints of Rowman & Littlefield solidifies Bloomsbury Academic's position in the U.S. and globally as an important publisher. We are thrilled to welcome over 115 new colleagues to the team. Their academic expertise, impressive list of authors and strong backlist will help to grow the Bloomsbury Digital Resources portfolio and title offering in any format to academic readers across the globe.

"Our academic division stands for excellence and originality in scholarship, learning and professional practice. Rowman & Littlefield, along with our most recent acquisition of ABC-Clio, ensures we are an ambitious force to address  the changing market opportunity from K-12 schools to higher education and beyond. It cements Bloomsbury's overall presence in the U.S. as a major independent publisher."

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