Laurence King Publishing (LKP) has been acquired by fellow U.K.-based publisher Hachette UK in a deal signed August 31. No price was disclosed.
Founded in London in 1991, LKP, which is currently distributed in the U.S. by Chronicle Books, has focused on publishing books and gifts tied to the creative arts. It is likely best known as one on the creators of the adult coloring format and was the original publisher of adult coloring book queen Johanna Basford. Her Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest adult coloring books sold more than 16 million copies globally and were a huge hit in the U.S. In recent years, LKP has become well-known for its gift products.
The acquisition of LKP is part of a long-term Hachette strategy to diversify into specialist areas through acquisitions, a policy initiated under Tim Hely Hutchinson, who left as CEO at the end of 2017, and continued by his successor David Shelley. Nicholas Brealey was acquired in 2015, followed by games developer Neon Play in 2016, Kyle Cathie, Bookouture, Jessica Kingsley and Summersdale all in 2017, and finally Short Books in June last year.
In a statement released to the U.K. trade publication BookBrunch, Laurence King, managing director of LKP, said: "I am delighted that Hachette UK will be acquiring LKP. Hachette UK is a forward-looking, entrepreneurial company, which is known for carefully nurturing its imprints. I have no doubt that it will not only preserve LKP’s culture of aspiring to produce really exceptional, original books and gifts, but will also be able to take further LKP’s recent successful initiatives, such as its German subsidiary, Laurence King Verlag. While I am obviously sad to be leaving a company that I have spent so many decades building, it is very good to know that it will be in such safe and thoughtful hands."
In his statement, Shelley said: "I have for a long time admired LKP from afar. The creativity, dynamism and consumer focus of the business Laurence King has built up over the past 29 years is inspiring, and the company is exceptionally strong in a wide range of fields including art, architecture, design, fashion, film and photography, as well as children’s books. One area I am particularly excited about is LKP’s gift publishing, which has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years.
Following the acquisition, LKP’s gift, trade and art publishing will become an imprint of Orion Publishing Group. LKP’s student and professional publishing will become an imprint of Quercus and LKP’s children’s publishing will become part of Hachette Children’s Group.
The bulk of LKP's 75-strong staff are expected to move to Hachette's Blackfriars headquarters during 2021.
A version of the story first appeared in BookBrunch.