Gallimard was founded in 1911 by Gaston Gallimard, the grandfather of today’s president and CEO Antoine Gallimard, as Les Editions de la Nouvelle Revue Française (NRF). The publisher has been home to many of the most prestigious writers in French literature throughout the 20th century, including Marcel Proust, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, and 2008 Nobel laureate Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio. The centenary of Gallimard’s creation has been widely celebrated with numerous publications and exhibitions in 2010 - 2011. In these 100 years, the most popular authors ever published by Gallimard had been Albert Camus (with 29 million copies, including 10 million for L’Etranger (The Stranger), Antoine de Staint Exupery (26.3 million copies, including 13 million of Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince), and J.K. Rowling (26 million copies for the seven volumes of Harry Potter).
Antoine Gallimard holds 60% and controls 85% of the company with his traditional shareholders.
Groupe Gallimard controls a majority stake in the following publishing houses: Denoël, Mercure de France, Gallimard Loisirs (tourist guides), Gallimard Jeunesse (youth), POL, Éditions de la Table Ronde, Futuropolis, Verticlaes, Alternatives and others, as well as in the distribution services Centre de Diffusion de l'Édition, Sofedis, SODIS and France Export Diffusion and the Canadian subsidiary Gallimard Limitée, based in Montreal. Gallimard also owns six bookstores, including Le Divan (Paris), Librairie Kléber (Strasbourg) and Librairie Gallimard (Paris). Gallimard publishes roughly 1,500 titles per year with a backlist of more than 20,000.
Publisher Antoine Gallimard, president of the French publishers’ association from June 2010 to June 2012, continues to keep a high profile in France’s efforts to contain digital developments. The country has made significant initiatives in public regulations, notably on a law extending the French system of a fixed book price (“Loi Lang) to e-books. Gallimard also was and is outspoken on the underpinning the crucial role of independent publishers for contemporary literature.
Flammarion, founded in 1876 by Ernest Flammarion, was acquired from the Italian group RCS by Madrigal, the mother company of Gallimard, in fall 2012. Directed by Teresa Cremisi as its Président-Directeur-général, Group Flammarion has operations in France, Belgium and Canada, and includes various imprints in trade publishing, including Casterman, Autrement, J’ai lu, Fluide Glacial and Jungle. Flammarian handles services for its own titles as well as for Actes Sud, PUF and Le Dilettante.
Madrigal, Gallimard's holding company controlled by Antoine Gallimard and his sister Isabelle, took over a majority share in the publishing house in the late 1990s. Shares were repurchased from two of Gallimard's three big corporate shareholders, the Italian publisher Einaudi and the French media group Havas. Havas was compelled to sell its shares after the Gallimard board ruled its merger with Vivendi made it a direct competitor. After the repurchase, Madrigal had a 60 percent majority holding in the publishing house. That was increased to 98 percent in January 2003 when Madrigall repurchased the Gallimard holdings of five other outside shareholders for 92 million EUR.
“Having a coherent capital structure will allow us to move at will. It has been said that all family-run [publishing] companies will disintegrate," said Antoine Gallimard. "We will make proof of the opposite.”
Analysis & Key Developments
Neither Madrigall nor Groupe Gallimard have released any financial statements aside from total revenues. Flammarion initially reported total revenues of 264 million EUR for 2012 in the French ranking of Livres Hebdo, yet re-stated this information on its website to 203.7 million EUR, down from 277 million EUR in 2011. This number did not include revenues from distribution or wholesale.
Gallimard is a private company and does not release financial data other than annual revenues, which showed a rise of 4.8 % in 2011 against 2010, after three flat years, and a significant drop from 290 million EUR in 2007 to 241 million EUR in 2008. No revenues were reported for 2012.
In October 2013, following the acquisition of Flammarion from RCS, Antoine Gallimard sold 9.5% of the company’s shares to luxury goods business owner Bernard Arnaud for an estimated 30 million EUR.
Madrigall acquired Groupe Flammarion from Italian RCS in fall 2012. Details of the integration and consolidation process have not been released.
Gallimard announced it would lower e-book prices by the end of 2011 to compensate for the normally higher VAT on digital publications.
In September 2011, Gallimard, together with Albin Michel and Flammarion, decided to drop charges against Google over their library digitization program.
In 2010, Gallimard co-founded the e-book distribution platform Eden Livres with La Martinière and Flammarion.