Allen & Unwin has acquired Murdoch Books.
A&U and Murdoch Books announced the finalisation of the sale in a joint statement on 3 October. As previously reported by Bookseller+Publisher, the publishers entered into ‘exclusive’ sale negotiations in September.
A spokesperson from A&U told Bookseller+Publisher that Murdoch Books will ‘operate independently within Allen & Unwin as its own entity’ and that the sale includes the rights to all Murdoch titles. A number of Murdoch Books staff are expected to continue to work for the company, and the spokesperson said they will move from their current location to the A&U offices. A&U said in the statement that ‘Murdoch Books will soon advertise a number of key roles as part of future plans under Allen & Unwin’.
A&U CEO Robert Gorman said that the publisher has ‘exciting plans’ for the Murdoch business, and would share these plans with the industry ‘over the coming months’.
‘We have long admired Murdoch Books as one of the most impressive and innovative Australian publishers,’ said Gorman. ‘It is a testament to [Murdoch Books CEO and chairman] Matt Handbury and the outstanding Murdoch Books team that for twenty-one years they have brought such outstanding books and authors to the Australian marketplace. We are delighted to be able to continue this tradition.’
Handbury said in the same statement that he is ‘thrilled that the business will become an integral and wholly owned part of the largest Australian independent publishing house, and the efforts that [the Murdoch] team have put into building the Murdoch Books brand will seamlessly continue in its new home’. ‘We can all look forward now to seeing a secure, sustainable and fertile future for the Murdoch Books list,’ he said.
Handbury told Bookseller+Publisher in September that he plans to stay involved in publishing and media ‘in some form or another’. A spokesperson for Murdoch Books said this week that ‘at this stage there are no plans for Matt to stay involved with the business’.
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’.