Gulf Publishing Divests Its Book Group
Jim Milliot -- 9/25/00
Houston-based company completed the sale of its book group last week

Houston-based Gulf Publishing Co. completed the sale of its book group last week. Earlier this summer, the company closed deals to sell its professional and reference division to Butterworth-Heinemann, and its general trade division to TaylorWilson Publishing, a newly formed publishing company founded by entrepreneur Larry Taylor and John Wilson; Wilson had headed the Gulf Publishing book division for the last two years. Last week, Gulf finalized the sale of its Jamsa Press computer-book line to Delmar Publishers. Gulf president Rusty Meador said the company was divesting the book group to focus on its industry journals and online information portals. Its journals include World Oil, Hydrocarbon Processing and Pipe LineandGas Industry.

The purchase of the trade group by TaylorWilson includes approximately 225 consumer nonfiction titles and author contracts. Taylor said the acquisition "gives us a solid foundation upon which we can build a national footprint through acquiring similar, proven regional book publishers." The purchase of the Gulf line, which includes the Lone Star Books imprint, gives TaylorWilson not only a presence in Texas, but in the Southeast and Florida markets as well. "Our strategy is to begin with a strong regional focus," Wilson said, adding that his immediate goal is to "establish ourselves as the official publisher of Texas." The two men also plan on developing a list of business and management books for a national market and are considering adding additional lines, particularly in the entertainment area. "We want to take the list to the next level and give it more of a literary bent," Wilson told PW.

Wilson said he hopes to introduce at least 16 to 20 new titles in the next year. TaylorWilson will do its own sales and marketing and has hired Doug Weidman, formerly with McGraw-Hill, as v-p, sales, and Dave Hamrick, formerly with Barnes & Noble, as v-p, marketing. Fulfillment will be done through Jamco Distribution of Dallas.

Butterworth's purchase includes about 300 active titles as well as the rights to out-of-print books. Approximately 200 titles are in the engineering field, with the balance covering business and management. Under terms of the deal, Gulf senior editor Timothy Clark will serve as a liaison to Heinemann and Heinemann has the right to use the Gulf name in an engineering book series to be known as Gulf Professional Publishing. Clark will not only help with transition of titles from Gulf to Heinemann, but will also work with Heinemann to develop author leads and find excerpts from the books for use on Gulf's Web sites.

Except for Clark, no other Gulf employees will be joining Heinemann, which is based on Woburn, Mass. Norm Langlois, executive v-p of Heinemann, said he expects to hire three people to work on the company's expanded list. Langlois called the Gulf titles "a perfect fit" to Heinemann's list, noting that the books can be sold in the company's international markets and will also be used in Heinemann's distance learning programs.

Approximately 30 computer books were acquired by Delmar, a subsidiary of the Thomson Corp., through its purchase of the Jamsa line.