Headline Book Publishing

Activity
Books
Acquired
Jun 1986
Realised
Apr 1991
Sector
TMT

Business
In June 1986, Cinven supported the start-up of what is now one of the major forces in book publishing. Headline was launched by a young management team that had successfully turned around MacMillan book publishing.

Strategy
Management aimed to quickly develop Headline’s publishing activities in certain key segments of the paperback market, and to nurture up and coming authors rather than invest in high up-front royalties. A key objective was to start to build a backlist of titles, which would later become an important asset of the business. The medium term aim of the business was to achieve a flotation and this was targeted to take place in early 1991.

Outcome
Headline performed well ahead of its projected numbers, giving Cinven the confidence to back the company to acquire the much larger Hodder and Stoughton and become the fourth largest book publisher in the UK. The joint business, renamed Hodder Headline, was floated on the London Stock Exchange in April 1991. Hodder Headline, now owned by WH Smith, remains a major force in trade book publishing.

Multiple returned on investment: 2.6x