Italy’s De Agostini S.p.A is a family-owned international group controlled by B&D Holding. The holding company is organized as a financial conglomerate that operates in publishing, gaming, media and communications, and the financial sector. The sub-holding firm De Agostini Editore is present in 30 countries.

Key company developments in 2011 & 1st half year 2012


In 2010, De Agostini’s publishing revenue accounted for 1.33 billion EUR. This is a drop of 4% in comparison with the result of 2009, caused by a weak performance of Partworks and General Reference businesses. In return, EBITDA increased from 11 million EUR to 27 million EUR, due to cost reduction. The company recorded “encouraging signs in developing markets and new businesses," while citing a "negative trend in the traditional western European markets.”

Ownership, mergers & acquisition, internal organization:

In the second half of 2010, the publishing businesses were reorganized, with a focus on streamlining Partworks, Direct Marketing, and Books. In 2011, De Agostini Editore implemented a two-arm structure: De Agostini Libri S.p.A. will coordinate and manage the publishing activities on the Italian market, providing illustrated books, foreign and domestic fiction for children and adults, reference titles, cartography works and scholarly publishing. Additionally, De Agostini Libri will be active in the b2b market and sell online through DeAgostinilibri.it that was created in partnership with the Italian publishing house Hoepli. The second arm, De Agostini Publishing, will compete in the areas of Partworks and of Direct Marketing with a product range of reference titles, nonfiction, educational material for children and digital content.


As Publishers Weekly reported, De Agostini prepares to expand their presence in the US market. The Italian publishing group hired new staff members from the US, rented office space in New York, launched product tests, and made its debut at BookExo America in 2011. Marketing director of De Agostini UK Ltd. James Franks said it is possible to "reformat [their] editorial assets for the U.S. market.” His colleague, editorial director Robin Pearson, put it in concrete terms: “We will also introduce new programs based on our most successful international products, each one designed to work within different channels and given a unique twist that will appeal to the U.S. consumer.”



Bestselling authors & titles:

De Agostini is most noted for children’s books, but robust sales are found in other subjects abroad. The adult title Cake Decorating, which comes with the tools required, sold 700,000 units in the U.K. Other bestselling packages as Real Bugs and Real Treasures (equipped with, respectively, insect specimens and gems). These so-called Collect-a-Case products could encourage children to collect multiple copies of one title.

Key points for analysis & conclusions:


Earlier developments:


Note: Figures are based on sales generated in calendar 2011 or—for corporations with a fiscal year—from fiscal 2011. Data are from publicly available sources and include sales of books, journals, and digital products. Because publishing data were unavailable, Pannini and Disney/Hyperion are excluded from the rankings. The listing and publisher profiles were compiled by international publishing consultant Rudiger Wischenbart under the aegis of Livres Hebdo.