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HarperCollins Acquires U.K. Publisher Fourth Estate
Jim Milliot and Jean Richardson -- 7/17/00
Purchase also brings new head for HC UK, Victoria Barnsley

HarperCollins last week completed the much-rumored purchase of Fourth Estate, a prominent independent British publisher. In addition to increasing its presence in the U.K. market, the acquisition also provided a successor to former HarperCollins UK chief Eddie Bell as HC named Fourth Estate founder Victoria Barnsley CEO and publisher of its U.K. subsidiary. Barnsley, who began her new job last week, will report to HC president and CEO Jane Friedman.

Fourth Estate will become a division of HC UK, and its upper management team, which includes publisher Christopher Potter and managing director Stephen Page, will remain intact. Friedman said she plans to establish a Fourth Estate imprint in the U.S., although details have yet to be worked out. Fourth Estate has annual sales of about £7.5 million ($11.5 million ) and a staff of 36. The company publishes about 100 titles per year, and Barnsley said she hopes to expand that number.

Barnsley told PW the attraction to join HC was that "it gives me a chance to work on a bigger canvas. I've wanted to work at a larger company and this gives me a great opportunity." Friedman praised Barnsley's energy, publishing experience and forward thinking.

One book that will not be published by Fourth Estate now that it is part of the HC (as well as parent company News Corp.) umbrella is an unauthorized biography by Michael Crick of News chairman Rupert Murdoch. Barnsley said both the company and Crick agreed that he would be better served by finding a new publisher.

The purchase comes one year after HC completed its acquisition of Morrow/Avon, and Fourth Estate is the fourth publisher acquired since Friedman took over at HC.

Freimuth Moves to HC
In a major appointment in its U.S. operations, Carie Freimuth has been named senior v-p and associate publisher of the HC general books group. In her new position, Freimuth will be responsible for trade marketing, publicity and managing editorial for the HarperInformation and HarperTrade divisions as well as overseeing the academic marketing department. Freimuth, who starts at HC today, will report to Cathy Hemming, president and group publisher of general books. Before joining HC, Freimuth was v-p and publisher of RH adult audio publishing..

HC has also restructured its publicity operation, creating three groups dedicated to specific imprints. Patti Kelly has joined HC as senior publicity director for HarperCollins, Perennial, Quill, the Ecco Press and Amistad. Heading up the publicity effort at Regan Books, Cliff Street, HarperResource, William Morrow Cookbooks and HarperCollins Cookbooks is Paul Olsewski, while Laura Leonard has been promoted to senior publicity director for Morrow/Avon.
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