Thursday, April 04, 2013

Stuff My Employer Has Sold, And What Happened To It

There are no value judgements stated or implied here; I'm mostly trying to keep track of this myself, so I can refer back to this post in several years when I've forgotten how it all happened. I presume all of these deals made great business sense to all parties at the time, and that everyone is happy with the outcome.

So: just over a year ago, in early March of 2012, Wiley announced that it intended to sell off a number of consumer publishing assets.

Google was the first buyer to surface, buying the travel business from Wiley, including Frommer's and the Unofficial Guides, in August.

The second major divestment was in November, when Wiley sold its culinary program (along with the CliffsNotes reference guides and a reference program centered on the Webster's New World dictionary) to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

A couple of weeks ago, news leaked that Google had decided to eliminate all Frommer's books as of mid-February. The Unofficial Guides, though, would continue in both physical and e-books.

Yesterday, Arthur Frommer -- who founded the Frommer's brand back in 1957 -- announced that he's bought back the brand from Google. (Though, presumably, not all of the publishing assets and content, which implies he paid less than the $25 million Google reportedly did.)

Also yesterday, Turner Publishing bought a third chunk of Wiley's consumer publishing, including the Baseball Prospectus as well as pets, crafts, and general consumer books.

And, today, Publishers Weekly reported that HarperCollins Canada had bought a bunch of titles from Wiley Canada, including titles on hockey and cooking.

And who says that publishing is boring?

Update, May 31:

What appears to be the last piece of the stuff that Wiley wanted to sell -- a nautical program headquartered in the UK -- has been sold, as of today, to Fernhurst Books. (That company is apparently headed by the guy who build the program and sold it to Wiley in the first place, which sounds like a good thing for the audience and authors.) Details of this sale were not announced, but really curious folks can probably winkle it out of Wiley's next 10-Q.

And so it looks like Wiley did manage to sell of the things it wanted to sell, to what look like good homes on all sides. (I'm being positive, and assuming HMH is now solid and stable and has successfully gotten through its own recent turmoil.)

No comments:

Post a Comment