U.K.-based Bloomsbury Publishing has acquired the academic and professional publisher Continuum for £20.1 million ($32 million at current exchange rates). With operations in both the U.S, and U.K., Continuum had sales of £10.7 million ($17 million) in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011 and is expected to post EBITA of £600,000 for the year. Bloomsbury has been expanding its international professional publishing businesses and company chairman Nigel Newton said that Continuum will be the cornerstone of its growing academic business.

“The acquisition of Continuum is a transformational step in the delivery of a long held strategic objective to grow our academic publishing. It is complementary to, and will substantially enhance, our Academic business, in particular giving it significantly more power in the US, helping to expand our increasing global market. Our growing proportion of academic and professional revenues will increase profit margins and give our results more stability,” Newton said in a prepared statement.

In its press release, Bloomsbury said it has identified “potential cost synergies in excess of £1 million in the first full year of combined operation.” Continuum will become part of Bloomsbury's academic & professional division, led by Jonathan Glasspool. Bloomsbury will move the Continuum U.K. business from its current offices in Waterloo to its new home in Bedford Square. Oliver Gadsby, Chief Executive of Continuum, will be staying with the business for a few months to assist with the integration process. Frances Pinter will continue as publisher of the Winston Churchill Archive Online, though having successfully founded the Bloomsbury Academic list, she is relinquishing this role to pursue her other open access projects.

It was unclear Monday how the deal will effect Continuum’s distribution arrangements in the U.S. Since last July, Continuum has been distributed by NBN, an agreement that NBN president Jed Lyons said has worked well. In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, the U.S. accounted for 42% of Continuum’s total sales. Bloomsbury is distributed in the U.S. by Macmillan and had revenue of about $31 million in the U.S. in 2010.

The acquisition gives Bloomsbury its first academic editorial and marketing team in the U.S. and the company noted it was excited about the digital opportunities for Continuum's 7,000 title backlist, noting that it has plans to create a new digital subscription based academic services