Holtzbrinck Publishing Group and BC Partners have announced an agreement to merge Springer Science+Business Media in its entirety with the majority of Macmillan Science and Education, namely Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan and the global businesses of Macmillan Education.
The transaction by Holtzbrinck and BCP is aimed at securing the long-term growth of both businesses. The partners say it will create a leading global science and education publishing house with the opportunity to better serve its authors, the research community, academic institutions, learned societies and corporate research departments, as well as to extend its reach within the education and learning markets.
The new group will be under joint control of Holtzbrinck and funds advised by BCP with Holtzbrinck retaining a 53 per cent share. The management board of the new company will be composed of four members: Derk Haank (chief executive officer), Annette Thomas (chief scientific officer), Martin Mos (chief operating officer) and Ulrich Vest (chief financial officer).
Stefan von Holtzbrinck, CEO of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, said: 'Improving communication, outcomes and careers for researchers, teachers and professionals has always been at the heart of our ambitions. By sharing the same vision, by combining creativity and innovation, and by enlarging scale, the merger of these highly prestigious publishing houses will meet the desires and expectations of our customers with diligence, care and speed. The combination is a big and exciting step into the future and a clear opportunity for all.'
Ewald Walgenbach, managing partner of BC Partners: 'This joint venture is a strategic milestone in the more than 150-year history of both businesses and shows how family businesses and private equity can work together and support businesses in positioning themselves for future growth. The activities of both businesses are complementary and offer a perfect fit across products, geographies and most importantly contributors and clients.'
Derk Haank, CEO of Springer, added: 'Combined, these two companies, both deeply rooted in a strong publishing tradition, offer breadth, volume and reach. Springer, in its current form, owes a significant part of its success to the investments made possible under private equity over the past ten years. With the arrival of Holtzbrinck as an anchor investor, a new phase of our long-term development will begin and I also very much look forward to working with Annette Thomas. Together, we will be able to offer authors and contributors more publishing opportunities and institutional libraries and individual buyers will have more choice.'
Annette Thomas, CEO of Macmillan Science and Education, said: 'It’s a tremendously exciting time to be working in the sector as we enter a new, globally connected and collaborative age. Put simply, technological change means that we can better fulfil our founding purpose – to connect those with information to those who want to learn and discover more – in new and myriad ways.'
Further details regarding the joint venture’s organisational structure will be disclosed once the businesses are combined. The transaction is subject to approval by various competition authorities, and this is expected during the first half of 2015.