In a deal involving two U.K.-based houses, Canongate has acquired Severn House Publishers, for an undisclosed sum, from owner Edwin Buckhalter and his family. The deal was partially financed by Handelsbanken, which has taken over from the Royal Bank of Scotland as Canongate’s bankers.
“It is no secret that I am long past retirement age, and recently we have been approached by several companies on both sides of the Atlantic,” Buckhalter, Severn House’s chairman, said in a statement. “I have always been impressed by Canongate’s creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and fierce independence, and I am confident that their youthful outlook and energy will add new dimensions and potential for our authors.”
Buckhalter and company secretary Mandy Shaw will remain in consultancy roles, but step down from their current positions. The rest of the Severn House staff, including publisher Kate Lyall Grant, will continue in their current roles and move into Canongate’s west London office. Kate Gibb, formerly Canongate’s finance and operations director, has been promoted to COO of Canongate, and will sit on the Severn House board of directors, alongside Canongate CEO Jamie Byng and Canongate chairman David Young.
“Severn House is a very impressive publishing operation, and I have great admiration for Edwin and the manner in which he has grown his company into such a successful and interesting business with an excellent team of staff and a terrific list of authors,” Byng said in a statement. “When we were presented with this opportunity to buy Severn House, it became clear very quickly that the two companies were extremely complementary, and I am delighted, as are the Canongate Board and shareholders, that we have concluded this deal.”
Buckhalter founded Severn House, a specialist fiction publisher focusing on the U.S. library market, in 1974.