The purchase of Harlequin, combined with the continuing strong sales of the Divergent series, resulted in a 24% sales increase at HarperCollins in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, which ended September 30.
Total revenue at HC rose to $406 million, from $328 million in last year's first quarter. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes,depreciation and amortization) rose 28%, to $55 million.
HarperCollins completed its acquisition of Harlequin at the end of July, one month into the last quarter and HC parent company News Corp.said that excluding Harlequin results, sales would have increased 6% and EBITDA would have increased 23%.
As it has for much of the calendar year, Divergent was HC's strongest seller in the quarter, selling 3.5 million copies of the series in just the first quarter of the fiscal year helped by sales of Four: A Divergent Collection. Aided by the Harlequin purchase, total e-book sales rose 28% in the quarter and accounted for 22% of HC revenue. Excluding Harlequin, e-book sales were still up 8% in the period.
In a conference call discussing the results, executives from News Corp. gave strong support to HC, calling the book publisher one of the "core pillars" on which the corporation will build its future. The executives said they were pleased with the pace of integrating Harlequin into HC and told analysts that when the integration is completed they expected to get $20 million in savings, the same level of savings HC generated after it completed the integration of Thomas Nelson. On the revenue side, the executives said HC and Harlequin are looking at new ways to monetize Harlequin's extensive backlist.