For the second time in a month Random House has sold back a publishing house it acquired to the former owner. Following the July sale of Monacelli Press to Gianfranco Monacelli, Random announced today that Triumph Books, the Chicago sports publisher it acquired in 2006, has been sold back to its publisher, Mitch Rogatz. The financial terms of the sale between Random House, Rogatz and an unnamed private investor partnering with Rogatz, were not disclosed. Also effective immediately, Triumph Books will be distributed by Independent Publishers Group, which is also located in the Windy City. None of Triumph’s 60 fall releases will be delayed in their publication.
“It was a mutual thing,” Rogatz told PW this morning. “It was one of those times in life and business that it made sense for everybody to explore new ways of doing things.” He praised Random House and its employees, calling them “incredibly professional, incredibly savvy, and incredibly fair,” throughout the five years he and his staff worked with them.
During the five years Triumph operated as an imprint of Random House, it maintained its own sales, marketing, and editorial departments in Chicago, headed by Rogatz. Four of the 20 Triumph employees “across the business,” Rogatz told PW, have left the company during the transition period, which has been going on “for several months.”
Triumph, founded in 1989, is best known as a sports publisher, and the company often released “instant” commemorative coffee table books after major sports events, such as the World Series and the Super Bowl. Triumph also publishes personal fitness and wellness books, cooking and gardening titles, puzzle books, and coffee table books about world figures. Its imprint, Triumph Entertainment, has published pop culture and current events titles for more than 10 years. There are more than 300 Triumph titles in print.
Random House spokesperson Stuart Applebaum said the timing of the sale of Triumph and Monacelli was "coincidental." Applebaum said the decision to divest the imprints was made by two different Random divisions--Crown in the case of Monacelli and Little Random in the case of Triumph. Applebaum noted that both imprints had strong leaders who over time came to feel there were things they wanted to do that could be best accomplished as an independent publisher.
The divestitures do not mean Random will not consider other acquisitions. "We're very open to listening to all opportunities," Applebaum said.