Hachette has called off plans to acquire Perseus. The publisher announced the transaction back in June, reporting that the deal was expected to close after regulatory approval.
However, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the publisher couldn’t come to terms with all of the issues required for the deal to close. Here is more from the report:
The distribution assets made the proposed sale a more complex transaction than simply acquiring a publishing house. As part of the agreement, Hachette, a unit of Lagardere SCA, was to sell Perseus’s print and digital distribution business to Ingram Content Group, a unit of Ingram Industries Inc. That element ultimately doomed the deal, said people familiar with the situation.
Hachette Book Group’s net revenues were up 5.6 percent in the first half of 2014, as compared to the first six months of 2013.
The company attributed the growth to the integration of Hyperion, along with strong titles including The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling, The Goldfinch by Donna Tarrt and James Patterson’s Unlucky 13.
“It is gratifying to have first half sales that exceed last year’s, especially in light of recent market challenges,” stated Michael Pietsch CEO of HBG.
The publisher counted 108 titles on The New York Times’ bestseller list during the six month period, as well as 43 titles on The New York Times’ eBook bestseller list.
Hachette Book Group is reportedly in talks to acquire the Perseus Books Group.
The New York Times has the scoop: “Under terms of the proposed deal, Hachette would keep the Perseus publishing business, said one person briefed on the negotiations. But it has signed a binding agreement to sell its client services division, which provides back-end services like marketing and distribution, to Ingram Content Group, a distributor.”
The deal would give Hachette a leg up in its battle with Amazon. For the last month, the publisher has been stuck in negotiations with the book retailer. Amazon has stopped stocking popular Hachette titles, delaying shipments for weeks. Hachette author Stephen Colbert has launched an anti-Amazon campaign in response.
Many members of the literary community have been greatly concerned about the Amazon vs. Hachette dispute. Renowned writer Neil Gaiman sat for an interview with Salon and voiced his opinion on this hotly-debated subject.
Gaiman revealed that he has many reasons to feel anger towards Amazon, but he is also trying to keep in mind “that what you’re seeing right now, is huge, giant-level dealings between huge corporations both under non-disclosure, and every time I try to actually read enough stuff to figure out what’s going on here, what I run into is lots of ‘We can’t say anything, but he says,’ and ‘We can’t say anything, but she says.’”
Like The Fault in Our Stars author John Green, Gaiman loves bookstores and wishes “to see is more and more healthy, independent bookshops.” Where do you stand on this? What do you think the future holds for the relationship between publishers and Amazon?
Many members of the literary community have voiced their opinion about the Amazon vs. Hachette dispute.
According to The Associated Press, John Green spoke out against the online retail giant during a promotional event for The Fault in Our Stars movie. He feels that “what’s ultimately at stake is whether Amazon is going to be able to freely and permanently bully publishers into eventual nonexistence.”
Hachette has responded to Amazon’s comments in a Kindle Forum, in which the retailer revealed the reasons for its dispute with the publisher.
Hachette is pleased that Amazon admitted their actions have affected the lives of authors. Here is more from Hachette’s statement on the issue:
Authors, with whom we at Hachette have been partners for nearly two centuries, engage in a complex and difficult mission to communicate with readers. In addition to royalties, they are concerned with audience, career, culture, education, art, entertainment, and connection. By preventing its customers from connecting with these authors’ books, Amazon indicates that it considers books to be like any other consumer good. They are not.
We will spare no effort to resume normal business relations with Amazon—which has been a great partner for years—but under terms that value appropriately for the years ahead the author’s unique role in creating books, and the publisher’s role in editing, marketing, and distributing them, at the same time that it recognizes Amazon’s importance as a retailer and innovator.