HarperCollins Closes Its Acquisition of Thomas Nelson

Nearly nine months after first announcing the deal, HarperCollins has finally closed on its acquisition of Thomas Nelson, one of the largest Christian publishers in the country. HarperCollins paid $200 million to private-equity firm Kohlberg & Co. for the company.

The Nashville-based publisher of bibles, books and all manner of digital book products will continue to run as an independent company, HarperCollins said in a press release today.

The acquisition makes HarperCollins parent to the largest Christian publishing operations in the country. HarperCollins was already one of the largest Christian publishers before the Thomas Nelson deal through its ownership of Zondervan. Digital revenues are growing quickly in Christian publishing, with the Association of American Publishers reporting nearly a 50% increase in digital revenues in religious publishing in February 2012 versus February 2011.

In an interview with Digital Book World in November following the acquisition, Thomas Nelson CEO Mark Schoenwald had little to say about what life would be like at Thomas Nelson following the closing of the deal. He did suggest that little would change at the top — i.e., no laying off of senior management at the company — and that ownership by HarperCollins would help Thomas Nelson expand internationally.

HarperCollins, currently owned by News Corp., is based in New York and is one of the six largest book publishers in the U.S. It was recently announced that News Corp. will be splitting into two parts, one made up of its movie and television entertainment properties and the other of HarperCollins and the company’s newspaper and educational divisions.


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