The Perseus Books Group, founded by the late Frank Pearl in 1996, is being sold to the Hachette Book Group. Through the deal, Hachette will then sell Perseus' distribution business to Ingram.
HBG will take ownership of the Perseus publishing imprints, while Ingram Publisher Services will add the distribution lines. Speculation of the sale of Perseus has persisted ever since Pearl, who created Perseus with the goal of building an independent publisher that would focus on backlist titles, died in May 2012. The company now publishes over 6,000 backlist titles. A source familiar with the negotiations denied that the Pearl estate played a part in the deal, and said that the purchase was driven by Hachette Livre chairman Arnaud Noury. Talks had been on and off for several months and heated up when HBG brought in Ingram to buy the distribution business. The deal is not expected to close before July 31.
Perseus has been headed by David Steinberger, who will leave the company after helping with the transition, since 2004 and is composed of the publishing imprints Avalon Books, Basic Books, Da Capo Press, The Economist, PublicAffairs, Nation Books, Running Press, Seal Press, Weinstein Books and Westview. Its distribution business was started in 2005 and, with gross revenue of about $300 million, now accounts for the bulk of its revenue under the Perseus Distribution Group, Consortium, PGW and newly established Legato Publishers Group.
For HBG, the addition of the Perseus imprints comes almost one year after it acquired approximately 1,000 Hyperion titles and is another step in meeting parent company Lagardere's long-held wish to create an American company of substantial scale. The addition of the Perseus imprints, which has annual sales of about $100 million, will boost HBG annual revenue to over $700 million. HBG said it will retain the Perseus imprints and move employees into its new headquarters.
With Perseus already the country’s largest distributor, the addition of its 400 clients to IPS will make the Ingram division the country’s largest distributor by a substantial margin. Perseus, PW’s Publisher of the Year in 2007, entered the distribution business with the purchase of CDS and Consortium and substantially increased its presence when it added over 120 PGW clients when Advanced Marketing Services went bankrupt in 2007. IPS will also take over Perseus's digital asset management Constellation operation and add the company's Jackson, Tenn. warehouse to its network.
Ingram's Phil Olilla said there are no plans to make major changes to the Perseus distribution operations which has offices in Minneapolis and Chicago as well as New York. "We are not looking for synergies," he said. "We want to show clients the advantages of being part of the Ingram family." IPS currently has 110 full service distribution clients and 10 third party logistic publishers. "We think the deal is good for the industry and good for Ingram."