HarperCollins Christian Publishing has acquired Olive Tree Bible Software, a maker of online and mobile software and apps for Bible study and devotional use. Olive Tree products are accessible across all major platforms and on the full range of devices.
In a statement, Mark Schoenwald, president and CEO of HCCP, said: “This acquisition, although relatively small and strategically different than content acquisitions, provides our business with the opportunity to enhance our technical capabilities, and create unique experiences for our consumers.”
Olive Tree will remain a separate brand within HCCP, and Rachel Barach, currently general manager of HCCP’s Bible Gateway--a website that offers searchable Christian Bibles in many versions and languages--will oversee Olive Tree’s operations. Bible Gateway had been owned by HarperCollins division Zondervan and became part of HCCP when Harper acquired Thomas Nelson.
Casey Harrell, HCCP’s director of corporate communications, told PW the features of Olive Tree’s software are “robust and holistic,” with “capabilities broader and more encompassing than anything else we offer in our digital products.” The acquisition also expands the market for HCCP’s Bible products, Harrell said. “Olive Tree’s is a more specific audience of church leaders, Christian educators, pastors, theologians, and academics. The general audience on Bible Gateway is the layperson or congregant.”
Olive Tree, which has sold both Zondervan and Thomas Nelson products through its online store, has "always had a positive impact on the discoverability of our products," Schoenwald said. “We believe this is a significant addition to our digital portfolio, but we are also committed to maintaining and growing relationships with all of our current online retailer and Bible software companies.”
Olive Tree will remain based in Spokane, Wash., and no layoffs or consolidation of operations are currently planned, Harrell said. Founder Drew Haninger will take on an advisory role during the transition to HCCP management. The deal comes a few days after parent company HarperCollins agreed to acquire Harlequin.