Hachette UK has acquired Welbeck Publishing Group for an undisclosed price. Welbeck was formed in 2019 by publishing veterans Mark Smith, cofounder and former CEO of Quercus Books, and Marcus Leaver, former CEO of Sterling Publishing and Quarto Group. Immediately after launching Welbeck, the duo acquired U.K.-based Carlton Books, which Smith and Leaver planned to use as a springboard to build a global publisher focused on illustrated nonfiction and children’s books for the coedition market, as well as adult commercial fiction and nonfiction.
“Both of us could never have envisaged, in March 2019, what a wild and rewarding experience founding Welbeck would be,” Leaver and Smith said in a joint statement. “The last few years have seen so much change in the world. It’s been daunting and exhilarating at the same time, and we are proud of what we have achieved.” Welbeck revenue in 2022 is expected to top £25 million.
The acquisition was completed on November 30. Welbeck’s gift, illustrated, and adult trade publishing will become part of Headline Publishing Group, and Welbeck’s children’s list will become part of Hachette Children’s Group. Neither Smith or Leaver are joining Hachette. Welbeck’s titles are currently distributed in the U.S. by Ingram’s Two Rivers division.