The mostly publishing company that split from Fox last year will pay $455M in Canadian dollars (about $415M U.S.) for the Toronto-based specialist in romance novels. About 99% of HarperCollins‘ books are in English, so with more than 1,300 authors and reach into more than 100 global markets, Harlequin is eyed to provide a boost for News Corp. The deal “is expected to provide an immediate lift to earnings,” News Corp CEO Robert Thomson says. He calls this “a significant step in our strategy to establish a network of digital properties in the growth regions of the world.” Harlequin will remain a distinct brand at HarperCollins and give it “an immediate foothold in 11 new countries from which we can expand into dozens of foreign languages for authors who choose to work with us globally,” the publishing unit’s CEO Brian Murray says. The deal is expected to close in Q3 following approval by shareholders of Harlequin’s parent company, Torstar Corp. It reported that Harlequin generated C$398M ($363M U.S.) in revenues last year with C$56M ($51M U.S.) in cash flow using international accounting rules, which differ from those in the U.S.
Last Friday, Deadline broke news that author James Frey’s latest YA novel Endgame was part of a bidding war. Later I reported that the result was a movie deal upwards of $2 million with Fox, which came after the publishing deal with sister company HarperCollins, and Google part of the mix. This for a Hunger Games-style series. So here are more details about what happened for the author of I Am Number Four and A Million Little Pieces.
HarperCollins got this started by buying U.S. and UK English-language rights to a trilogy of novels Frey writes with Nils Johnson-Shelton, first of which is to be published on October 7, 2014. The book already has its foreign publishers lined up for a simultaneous release around the world in over 30 languages. Fox signed on quickly — Warner Bros was trolling but never got to make a bid — for the movie rights, the first of which Frey will script based on the the opening book Endgame: The Calling, with Twilight Saga producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen of Temple Hill producing a series of movies based on the three books. They also have access to e-book novellas that are part of the series. The interactive part of this has big potential and is being orchestrated by HarperCollins, Full Fathom Five (which created I Am Number Four) and Google’s Niantic Labs, which will publish six Endgame novels for the Google Play store, with the game launching on Android and iOS devices late next year.
Former Breaking Bad writer Gennifer Hutchison has been hired to adapt the teen fantasy novel The Red Queen for Universal Pictures. HarperCollins will publish the book in winter 2015 as one of its top titles through its HarperTeen imprint. HarperCollins confirmed to Deadline that it expects a major marketing push in conjunction with the launch, which will segue well with Uni’s own marketing efforts in this young female-driven film.
The book has been sold into 16 different languages almost a year out from its domestic launch and is the first of a trilogy. Its publisher hopes it will become another Hunger Games. The Red Queen, written by Victoria Aveyard, centers on a 17-year-old who must save her family in a world “divided by the color of blood,” according to HarperTeen. She must pretend to be a long-lost princess while going undercover to secretly become part of a revolution that pits prince against prince. Hutchison is the former assistant of Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan.
The News Corp publishing unit has expressed interest in acquiring CBS Corp‘s Simon & Schuster book unit, according to the Wall Street Journal. If true, the overture comes less than a month after News Corp reportedly jumped in the bidding for Pearson’s Penguin book label with an offer the Sunday Times Of London says was for about $1.6 billion, as consolidation is being seen as a way to best transition the industry to digital platforms. Penguin later merged with Bertelsmann’s Random House. The WSJ, which is also owned by News Corp, reports HarperCollins-Simon & Schuster talks are preliminary. Any News Corp publishing entity would reside in its soon-to-be-split-off publishing company along with Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers and education businesses.
The Fox Group is bringing back the Fox Writers Intensive, the program for experienced writers with diverse backgrounds, ethnic minorities as well as LGBT, foreign-born and others, which debuted last year. The Fox network was the program’s main backer in its inaugural edition. This time around, the initiative is being expanded to other News Corp. divisions and will provide participants with opportunities in book development and publishing at HarperCollins, as well as the chance to apply on a first-look basis for the Fox Writers Studio, a yearlong think tank of salaried screenwriters working together to produce original feature films for 20th Century Fox Film. This year’s initiative will also feature development support from 20th Century Fox TV and FX, which, along with Fox Broadcasting Co., will purchase and develop the winning finalist’s original script.
News Corp is jumping into the bidding for Pearson’s Penguin book imprint, according to News Corp’s Sunday Times of London. News chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch “has indicated he will make a substantial cash offer — thought to be about £1 billion ($1.6 billion) — for Penguin”, the Times said. An offer from News Corp could derail the planned merger of Penguin with Bertlesmann-owned Random House or ignite a bidding war. A combination of Penguin and HarperCollins would have an English-language book market share of 20%. A merger of Penguin and Random House would have about a 25%-30% market share. Publishers have been facing fierce competition from Amazon, Apple and Google in the e-book business.
The federal judge in the e-book price-fixing case against Apple and book publishers who haven’t settled out of court has set a trial date of June 3, 2013, Bloomberg reports. Of the five publishers originally charged, only Macmillan and Penguin remain after CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster, Hachette and News Corp’s HarperCollins agreed to settle out of court after the government filed suit April 11. Settlements between the three publishers and all 50 states are slated to be finalized August 10. Feds have stepped up enforcement against price-fixing in other industries as well and have increased scrutiny of Apple’s digital publishing, mobile computing and music retail businesses to make sure company hasn’t thwarted competition.
It could be a fascinating anti-trust case according the details reported by The Wall Street Journal. The paper says that the Justice Department is gearing up to sue Apple and five top publishers — Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin Group, Macmillan, and HarperCollins — for conspiring to fix e-book prices around 2010 when the tech company introduced its iPad. The group allegedly wanted to end Amazon’s practice of selling e-books for a deeply discounted $9.99, part of the company’s strategy to promote sales of its Kindle e-readers. Hoping to loosen Amazon’s grip on the market, and help its new iPad, Apple encouraged publishers to stop selling books wholesale — which enabled retailers to set the selling price– and to adopt a so-called “agency model.” That empowers publishers to set the sales price, and pay retailers a fee of about 30%. The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he told publishers “the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want any way.” He added that
Is Roger Ailes thinking about stepping down from his gig as chief of Fox News? That’s a possibility, New York Magazine says in a report about his plans to write an autobiography as he enters “a legacy-burnishing phase of his career.” The magazine cites unnamed sources with “direct knowledge” of the situation who say Ailes, 71, could net an advance of as much as $4M from Rupert Murdoch’s HarperCollins. Ailes is being repped by Washington lawyer Bob Barnett. Fox News contributor Jim Pinkerton, who worked with Ailes on George H.W. Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign, will be co-author. Ailes’ contract at Fox expires in summer 2013.
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– HarperCollins Publishers today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Thomas Nelson, Inc. for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of the calendar year, is subject to regulatory clearances and other customary closing conditions.
Thomas Nelson is one of the leading trade publishers in the United States. The Company provides multiple forms of inspirational content including: books, Bibles, e-books, journals, audio, video, curriculum and digital applications available for download on “smart” electronic devices. It has published some of the bestselling books in the industry, including the current #1 bestseller Heaven Is For Real, and the books of many popular authors, such as Billy Graham, Max Lucado, and Dave Ramsey.
Newmarket Press, which has made its name publishing more than 200 film-related books like screenplays and making-of and movie tie-in titles, has been acquired by HarperCollins. The film and entertainment books will continue to be released under Newmarket’s name, now part of HarperCollins’ It Books imprint, Publishers Weekly reported today. Newmarket founder Esther Margolis is joining It as executive editor. Newmarket’s non-entertainment titles — spanning parenting, health, history, business, psychology and fiction — will be published via the William Morrow Trade Paperbacks imprint, PW said.