The U.K. academic publisher Routledge would like to have bought the academic journals publisher Taylor &Francis -- and indeed made an informal approach to them about a year ago -- but in the end it is Taylor &Francis that triumphed. Announcing a deal to acquire Routledge for £90 million (about $145 million), chief executive Anthony Selvey said he sees it as a marriage made in heaven, with Routledge's books and journals list providing a mirror image of the Taylor &Francis list, which is much stronger on the journals side.

Taylor &Francis became a public company earlier this year, the flotation providing the means to finance this latest and most ambitious acquisition. T&F has a long history of close collaboration with learned societies and currently publishes some 150 journals and 600 books per year. Half-yearly results saw turnover up 32%, to £17.5 million. In addition to headquarters in London, the company has U.S. offices in New York and Philadelphia; its imprints include Garland Publishing, Falmer Press and UCL Press.

Routledge, which also has an extensive and distinguished backlist, is currently financed by venture capitalist Cinven, which backed a management buyout from the Thomson Corporation in 1996. It publishes 1000 titles a year in the humanities and social sciences and also produces 275 journals. Annual turnover is £47.14 million.

The benefits of combining Routledge and Taylor &Francis are expected to include the creation of a strong platform for future growth, cross-marketing and electronic publishing opportunities, a quantum leap in profits on the book side and cost savings of at least £2 million from administrative efficiencies and eliminating redundancies.

Routledge will continue as an imprint of Taylor &Francis. Its chairman, Bob Kiernan, will join the T&F board as nonexecutive chairman, while David Hill will become managing director of the books division and Colin Jones will become president of both Taylor &Francis Publishers Inc. and Routledge Inc.