Italy’s De Agostini SpA is a family-owned international group, founded in 1901 and controlled by B&D Holding. The holding company is organized as a financial conglomerate that operates in the publishing, gaming, media communications and the financial sector. The sub-holding firm De Agostini Editore is present in 30 countries with publications in 13 languages. Publishing activities are formed in four business units: De Agostini Publishing, De Agostini Libri, Editions Atlas France/Suisse, Digital De Agostini. In 2013, De Agostini held a 2% market share in Italy.

Analysis & Key Developments


The group has not yet published its turnover figure for 2013. In 2012, De Agostini’s publishing revenue accounted for 1.25 billion EUR in comparison to 1.34 billion EUR. Last year’s results were corrected to 1.30 billion EUR. Based on this, revenue fell by 3.8%. The drop in revenue was attributed to Partworks (down 39 million EUR) and the book business (down 16 million EUR). Thanks to cost-containment efforts, EBITDA improved to 47 million EUR in 2012.

Publishing revenues include contributions from Partworks (747 million EUR), Direct Marketing (372 million EUR), Books (91 million EUR), Professional and training (32 million EUR) and Digital (12 million EUR).

Ownership, Mergers & Acquisition, Internal Organization

In January 2013, the reshaping of the portfolio of De Agostini Editore Group continued with the disposal of the entire stake held by De Agostini Libri in Utet and, specifically, of the General Reference and high-end publishing. Classics and Essays continue to be published by De Agostini Libri under the Utet Libri brand.


As the landscape for the Italian publishing business remained critical, the Group continued to pursue its strategy of finding new markets with greater growth potential.

Earlier Developments


In 2011, De Agostini’s publishing revenue accounted for 1.34 billion EUR. Even if sales recovered in comparison to last year’s 4% loss, the performance didn’t match 2007 and 2008, when the company closed the year with 1.56 billion EUR and 1.62 billion, respectively. Meanwhile, EBITDA decreased from 27 million EUR to 23 million EUR. However, the corporate outcome in 2011 was improved by 18% to 5.11 billion EUR. The group’s recorded EBITDA of 1.1 billion EUR is a rise of 26% compared with the previous year.

Ownership, Mergers & Acquisition, Internal Organization

In October 2012 the board of directors appointed Paolo Ceretti as CEO. He replaced Lorenzo Pellicioli, who remains on the board.

The company initiated a reorganization of its publishing businesses in 2010, focusing on Partworks, Direct Marketing and Books, and implemented a two-arm structure in 2011. De Agostini Libri S.p.A. coordinates and manages the publishing activities on the Italian market, providing illustrated books, foreign and domestic fiction for children and adults, reference titles, cartography works and scholarly publishing. Additionally, De Agostini Libri will be active in the B2B market and sell online through in partnership with Italian publishing house Hoepli. Meanwhile, De Agostini Publishing handles Partworks and of Direct Marketing with a product range of reference titles, nonfiction, children's educational material, and digital content.


DeAgostini Publishing USA Inc. was launched in January 2012 with an office in New York, to expand the company's presence in the US market.

Connecticut-based multimedia publisher Taunton Press and De Agostini have entered into an exclusive partnership agreement in which Taunton will distribute and publish all print content by Academia Barilla, a center dedicated to the promotion and development of Italian gastronomic culture in North America.

As the international arm, DeAgostini Publishing has a broad presence in Europe, Asia and Latin America, with total sales of 500m€ annually. DeAgostini publications are distributed into 46 global markets in 21 major world languages. It covers a 50% market share of partworks segment.

Bestselling Authors &Titles

Despite De Agostini is most noted for children’s books, although there are titles and packages for adults as well. Having sold 700,000 units in the U.K., the adult title “Cake Decorating“ comes with the tools required. Other bestselling packages as Real Bugs and Real Treasures (equipped with insect specimens and gems) are so-called Collect-a-Case products that should encourage children to gather multiple copies of one title.

Click here to return to the full listing of the world's largest publishers.