Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Avalon Publishing To Be Acquired By Perseus

When something big happens in the publishing world, Publishers' Marketplace (PM) issues a special edition in addition to their daily lunch email.

Tonight I received one of those special emails.

Charlie Winton, Chairman and CEO of Avalon Publishing Group, announced "that the company has signed a letter of intent to be acquired by the Perseus Books Group. Terms of the potential transaction were not disclosed." PM notes that Avalon has been up for sale for some time and "is said to have been generating about $32 million annually."

Avalon, which describes itself as "one of the leading independent publishers in the United States," was founded in 1994 and has offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City. The Avalon imprints include Avalon Travel Publishing, Carroll & Graf Publishers, Marlowe & Company, Nation Books, Seal Press, Shoemaker & Hoard, and Thunder’s Mouth Press.

Winton will stay in his current role through a transition and will then stay on as a consultant to Perseus.

Perseus is run by David Steinberger and has its main offices in New York City although they have other locations in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Their imprints include Basic Books, Da Capo Press, PublicAffairs, Running Press, Basic Civitas, Counterpoint, and Westview Press.

The interesting thing about this is how it ties into the whole Publishers Group West and the AMS bankruptcy debacle. Charlie Winton was one of the founders of PGW. Almost exactly four years ago--in January of 2002--Winton sold PGW to Advanced Marketing Services for $37.3 million dollars. Two weeks ago, AMS announced they were seeking protection under the bankruptcy law.

In the regular edition of PM earlier today, Michael Cader speculated that "AMS's other major saleable asset is PGW itself--or at least the contracts and assets controlled by PGW--and you don't need 'sources' to tell you that vigorous efforts are underway to see if a sale of PGW, in whole or in part, can be brokered."

I haven't posted about AMS yet because I've been collecting data. It may be another couple of days before I'm prepared to address that situation in a post because it's a little complex, but we'll get to it.

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