Nature publisher to merge with Springer

The publisher of Nature is to merge with the world’s second largest science publisher, Springer

January 15, 2015

The merger of Macmillan Science and Education and Springer was announced on 15 January.

The deal, negotiated by Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, which owns Macmillan, and BC Partners, the private equity group that owns Springer, will create a publishing group with 13,000 employees and an annual turnover of around €1.5 billion (£1.2 billion).

The merger will include Macmillan-owned Nature Publishing Group, the academic book publisher Palgrave Macmillan and textbook division Macmillan Education. However, it will exclude Macmillan Education’s US higher education business and certain other Holtzbrinck companies, including science technology company Digital Science.

Derk Haank, chief executive of Springer – which had sales totalling nearly €1 billion in 2013 – said the merged company would “offer breadth, volume and reach”.

“Springer, in its current form, owes a significant part of its success to the investments made possible under private equity over the past ten years. With the arrival of Holtzbrinck as an anchor investor, a new phase of our long-term development will begin. Together, we will be able to offer authors and contributors more publishing opportunities and institutional libraries and individual buyers will have more choice. The expected economies of scale will allow for additional investments in new product development.”

Stefan von Holtzbrinck, chief executive of Holtzbrinck – which will retain a 53 per cent stake in the merged company – said: “The combination is a big and exciting step into the future and a clear opportunity for all – for our customers, for our great teams in all parts of the world, for the development of the publishing houses involved and also for the family-owned Holtzbrinck Publishing Group.”

Ewald Walgenbach, managing partner of BC Partners, said: “This merger is a strategic milestone in the more than 150-year history of both businesses and shows how family businesses and private equity can work together and support businesses in positioning themselves for future growth. The activities of both businesses are complementary and offer a perfect fit across products, geographies and most importantly contributors and clients.”

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