The U.K. commercial television corporation ITV has sold its publishing arm, Carlton Publishing Group, to its founder and current managing director, Jonathan Goodman. Goodman has acquired the nonfiction reference and entertainment publisher for £3 million ($5.4 million) with private equity backing.

No changes in management structure or staffing are anticipated.

In recent years Carlton has failed to turn a profit. The last figures available, for 2002, show a loss of £1.1 million on sales of £11.5 million.

Goodman is confident that he can improve the situation with economies of scale and less reliance on TV tie-ins, which have a very short shelf life. Titles published in the U.K. will be cut by a third, to approximately 100, while U.S. operations will be slashed, from 120 titles a year to only 35. Football (or soccer in the U.S.) titles represent a growth area for Carlton, which has exclusive publishing licenses from Manchester United and Liverpool football clubs and a nonexclusive arrangement with Premier League champion Arsenal.

Goodman set up the publishing arm of the television group 12 years ago; its imprints include Carlton, Andre Deutsch, Prion and Manchester United Football Club.