What Kinds of Companies Should Publishers Acquire?

In Discussion by Hannah Johnson

As today’s large publishing companies are looking for growth through acquisitions, what kinds of companies should they buy?

By Hannah Johnson

Martin Levin

Martin Levin

Martin Levin, former CEO of the Times Mirror Book Group and currently a mergers and acquisitions lawyer, writes that today’s publishing acquisitions landscape today is heavily influenced by digital developments over the last four years — particularly the launch of the iPad and Apple’s App Store.

The result is that the top 20 international publishing companies are looking to acquire other companies with a “strong technology component” that can compete in the ever digitized landscape.

Currently, many publishers outsource many of the tasks necessary to create digital content — e-book conversion, app development and printing services, to name but a few. Should publishers be looking to acquire companies that provide these services? Should they seek to own the entire supply chain from author to reader?

Or perhaps publishers should look beyond the familiar territory for companies that provide other digital services, like web hosting or software development companies. Is this the right move?

Tell us what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Hannah Johnson


Hannah Johnson is the publisher of international book industry magazine Publishing Perspectives, which provides daily information and news about book markets around the world. In addition to building partnerships with international cultural and trade organizations, she works with the Frankfurt Book Fair to organize and support a number of its overseas initiatives. Hannah has also worked as the managing editor for an online media company, The Hooch Life, focused on craft distillers and cocktail experts. Prior to that, she worked as a project manager for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s New York office, managing various business and marketing activities.