Murdoch Books owner and chief executive Matt Handbury has confirmed to Bookseller+Publisher that the publisher is in negotiations to sell the business to Allen & Unwin.
Handbury said Murdoch Books is in ‘exclusive discussions’ with Allen & Unwin and an agreement is likely to be reached within weeks. Handbury said the discussions involve the sale of the complete Murdoch Books business, including the publisher’s imprints.
While Handbury declined to comment on specifics of the potential sale, he claimed Murdoch Books has had ‘keen interest from a number of parties’ and he believes a sale to Allen & Unwin will be a ‘good outcome’.
Handbury said he plans to stay involved in publishing and media ‘in some form or another’ but did not confirm that he would continue to be involved with book publishing.
As previously reported by Bookseller+Publisher, more than 20 staff at Murdoch Books were made redundant earlier this year, as part of what the publisher described as ‘radical steps to secure its future in the face of dramatic changes in the book industry’.
Handbury indicated at the time that selling the business was an option, saying the traditional model of publishing ‘will not suffice into the future’. ‘We can no longer pretend that things will be viable as they are,’ said Handbury. ‘A market for books will continue. However, cost structures, routes to market and associated commercial arrangements must add up for all players’.