What the company does
It doesn’t shy from the soar-away success of JK Rowling’s boy wizard but to see Bloomsbury as a one franchise wonder is to miss the point.
Other major authors include Sarah J Maas, Lisa Taddeo and Lara Maiklem
To see it purely as a fiction publisher is also an error.
Top chef Tom Kerridge has been a huge seller for Bloomsbury in recent years, for instance.
It has two arms:
- Its consumer division consists of Adult and Children's trade publishing
- The non-consumer operation is made up of Academic & Professional, Special interest and content services
The firm ended the year to 29 February with net cash of £31mln, after paying £1.2mln for the acquisition of Oberon Books Ltd in December 2019.
December was a busy month for the publisher, having signed a joint venture agreement with state-backed publisher China Youth Publishing Group to expand its business into the Chinese market.
It also acquired London-based drama and play publisher Oberon Books as an addition to its Academic & Professional division.
In March it acquired certain assets of Zed Books, the London-based academic and non-fiction publisher, to operate within Bloomsbury's Academic & Professional division. It is expected to contribute around £800,000 of revenue to Bloomsbury in its first year.
What the boss says: Jonathan Glasspool, managing director of Bloomsbury's Academic & Professional Division
"We are delighted to become the new guardian of the prestigious and progressive Zed list."
“The Zed programme aligns very well with our existing publishing within I.B. Tauris and complements Bloomsbury Academic's publishing across a wide range of humanities and social science subjects. Over 40 years, Zed has built up a unique presence in African and Development Studies, an area we wish to grow.”
What the broker says
Analysts at Peel Hunt, which rate Bloomsbury at a ‘buy’ with a target price of 300p, said that they hoped the new JV will “become a strategically important income stream for the company”.
“China is both a significant and difficult market. Gaining exposure through JV structures is a well-trodden route and seems commercially the most practical way… It will certainly be a way of gaining valuable commercial understanding and experience of this market”, the broker said.
- Cash generation leaves it well placed for acquisitions
- The impact of coronavirus is unclear but ebooks and audiobooks are expected to be popular