Last September's acquisition of Workman Publishing and favorable exchange rates lifted sales by 8.7% at Lagardere Publishing in the first quarter over the comparable period in 2021. Excluding those factors, sales were up 1.4%. Total first-quarter 2022 revenue was €554 million ($591 million), up from €509 million ($543 million) a year ago. Overall, Workman contributed about €21 million ($22.5 million) to first quarter sales.

Excluding Workman, sales for Hachette Book Group increased 2.2% over the comparable first quarter of 2021. HBG CEO Michael Pietsch attributed the increase to “good performances from most divisions, a thriving third-party distribution business, and continuing high backlist sales.” Among the titles leading the increase, Pietsch pointed to Dolly Parton and James Patterson’s Run, Rose, Run, Colleen Hoover’s Verity, Harlan Coben’s The Match, Michael Connelly’s The Dark Hours, Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Last Wish, and Stephenie Meyer’s Midnight Sun.

Sales fell slightly at Lagardere’s French and U.K. divisions, but jumped 34.5% in Spain and Latin America, reflecting the recovery from a slump in sales resulting from the pandemic and a strong performance for general literature in Spain.

E-books slipped in the quarter, accounting for 8.1% of total publishing in 2022, compared to 9% in the first quarter of 2021. Sales of downloadable audiobooks continued to improve and represented 4.8% of revenue compared to 4.6% in the same year-ago period.

Pointing to uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the invasion of Ukraine, and inflationary pressures, Lagardère said it is moving ahead with cost discipline and cash management efforts. The company repeated its financial forecast for the publishing group, expecting sales to be about even with 2021, with an operating margin just above 11%, down slightly from 2021.

The first quarter financial announcement also included an update on fellow French conglomerate Vivendi’s bid to buy Lagardere. The offer has been approved by a number of regulatory authorities and shareholders are now voting on the proposal. Final results of the vote are expected in late June after which the European Commission will make its ruling on the deal.