By Siobhan O’Leary
Following Suhrkamp’s headling-grabbing move from Frankfurt to Berlin last year, many in the German publishing industry wondered if it was an isolated incident or if other publishers would follow suit. Now Eichborn has announced its intention to join the ranks of publishers headquartered in the German capital — specifically in Aufbau’s future permanent home in Berlin.
For starters, Eichborn board member Stephan Gallenkamp and Aufbau managing directors Rene Strien and Tom Erben held a joint press conference in Berlin to confirm that the two independent publishers would be consolidating regional sales forces as of June 1st. Buchreport adds, however, that the two publishers will continue to handle key accounts separately.
In addition, Ludwig Fresenius (representing Eichborn’s main shareholders) and Aufbau’s majority shareholder, Matthias Koch, signed a letter of intent expressing the publishers’ plan to move toward a merger. Koch stepped in when Aufbau’s then owner Bernd Lunkewitz severed financial ties to the company in 2008 following a fifteen-year legal battle. Aufbau then moved to a temporary space in the Kreuzberg section of Berlin after losing its long-time home during that tumultuous year.
Gallenkamp also added that the Eichborn staff had already been informed of the potential move. Though a merger seems to make perfect sense for the two similar sized houses, the publishers do intend to keep their programs separate and the merger would be subject to regulatory approval.