Former Sterling Publishing, Quarto Publishing, and Welbeck Publishing Group head Marcus Leaver has formed Gemini Books Group, which will focus on publishing nonfiction gift books and children’s books in both the U.K. and U.S. markets.

The announcement of Gemini was accompanied by news of its acquisitions of Ad Lib Publishers, Imagine That!, Mardle Books, Palazzo Editions, and Pimpernel Press. Jon Rippon, currently managing director of Palazzo and AL/Mardle, has moved into the new role of finance director of Gemini.

Leaver called the acquisitions “an excellent springboard for us,” adding that he is pleased that Rippon is joining Gemini in his new role. Backed by what he said is “funding from both sides of the Atlantic," Leaver expects to grow Gemini through the acquisition of established companies and “by incubating start-up businesses in scalable areas of the market.”

The launch of Gemini marks Leaver’s return to publishing after he and his partner Mark Smith sold Welbeck to Hachette UK in December 2022. The blueprint for the new publisher closely follows Leaver’s plan for Welbeck, though those plans were disrupted by the onset of the pandemic. The subject areas targeted by Gemini also mesh with Leaver’s previous experience as CEO of Quarto, which he left in May 2018, and Sterling, where he served as CEO before joining Quarto.