In another move to broaden its reach in the worldwide children’s book publishing market, Trustbridge Global Media has acquired Walker Books, the U.K.-based children’s publisher and owner of Candlewick Press, which is based in Somerville, Mass.
No purchase price was disclosed, though in a release the companies pointed out that, despite the disruption to the book market caused by the coronavirus, “the transaction was completed on the same economic terms that had been negotiated earlier this year.” Walker had been majority owned by trusts for its employees under a structure set up by founder Sebastian Walker.
In making the announcement, Trustbridge said it plans no changes to Walker’s operation. The publisher will continue to be led by longtime managing director Karen Lotz, and its headquarters will remain in its Vauxhall, London offices. The company’s subsidiaries, which, in addition to Candlewick, are Walker Books Australia (Sydney) and Walker Productions (London), will remain in their current locations.
Founded 40 years ago, some of Walker’s best-known titles include Where’s Wally?/Where’s Waldo? by Martin Handford, Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram, Judy Moody by Megan McDonald and Peter H. Reynolds, and Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz. The purchase by Trustbridge, the companies said, will enhance Walker’s ability “to access new markets and is expected to help accelerate [Walker’s] growth and expansion in publishing and other media.”
Trustbridge Global Media (TGM) is a global children’s content company formed in 2016 by Trustbridge Partners, a Shanghai-based private equity and venture capital firm. The Walker purchase is Trustbridge’s third significant acquisition involving an American children’s publisher. Shortly after Trustbridge’s formation it acquired Holiday House in August 2016 and followed up that purchase in November 2018 with the acquisition of Peachtree Press. In addition to its acquisitions, Trustbridge formed the Pixel+Ink imprint in March 2019. Based in New York City, the imprint is led by editor-in-chief Bethany Buck, and is focusing on fiction for children ages three to 13, featuring a combination of picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and graphic novels.
Dan Sullivan, vice chairman of Trustbridge Partners, said that while TGM's American publishers will continue to operate independently, they will collaborate "in areas where it makes sense." He added that because Candlewick and Walker "have such a strong internal selling operation, there will be ways to leverage that strength across the TGM portfolio, but there have not been any conversations yet."