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Bloomsbury buys legal publisher to boost academic presence

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Bloomsbury Publishing has completed the acquisition of the issued share capital of Hart Publishing, the Oxford-based legal publisher, from the management shareholders. The initial consideration of £6.5 million (which is subject to working capital adjustments) was paid in cash on completion from Bloomsbury's own cash reserves.

The acquisition is part of Bloomsbury's strategy to increase its proportion of academic and professional revenues to 50 per cent of total sales in five years' time. According to the company, academic and professional revenues are more predictable and have lower related costs of sale with higher margins and are much less reliant on retail bookshop sales. Around 50 per cent of Hart's revenue is generated outside the UK, thereby increasing Bloomsbury's benefit from the global book market. The acquisition will also enable the Company to further develop its e-book publishing and expand the Bloomsbury Professional digital suite of services.

Richard Hart, managing director of Hart Publishing Ltd, commented: 'Hart has a leading position in academic legal publishing, with a thriving backlist, a huge number of authors who are leading authorities in their field, a dynamic digital programme, and - above all - an excellent team in Oxford. I am delighted that Hart is finding a new home with Bloomsbury, a company we all admire. I am confident that the lists and teams of the two companies will make a powerful combination, capable of playing a major role in the academic legal publishing landscape in the years ahead.'

Nigel Newton, chief executive of Bloomsbury commented: 'The acquisition of Hart increases our presence in the academic and professional market and is a significant step forward in achieving our ambition of generating 50 per cent of turnover from this important sector. It is complementary to, and will substantially enhance, Bloomsbury Professional, in particular increasing the division's international sales. Our growing proportion of academic and professional revenues will increase profit margins and give our results more stability. The mix of digital and subscription based services that can be built out of the acquisition are hugely exciting and will provide good financial returns.'