Book2Book Tuesday 10 Jan 2012Canada's biggest multinational publishing house just got bigger. Random House of Canada has become the sole owner of McClelland & Stewart, one of Canada's oldest publishing houses.
ACP “mourns the loss” of a national cultural institution (Quillblog)
And from PublishersLunch:
Random House Canada has acquired the University of Toronto's 75 percent share in McClelland & Stewart, making RHC the sole owner of the storied Canadian house. Apparently the University has handed over their interest, telling us in a statement that "the University is not receiving any financial compensation." They write that "publishing is not a core business of the University of Toronto," and that "the Canadian government has authorized the sale of McClelland & Stewart to Random House. As a result, UofT is able to divest itself of its shares in the company. The University has used its ownership position to ensure the stewardship of the cultural heritage, but has not provided any financial support. "
Random House first bought a 25 percent share in M&S in 2000 and has provided an extensive and growing range of services ever since. McClelland & Stewart has continued to shrink and become "even more focused" on its editorial mission -- including staff reductions in 2010, and the outsourcing of their sub rights department to the Cooke Agency International along with RHC in 2009 -- but has continued to face "financial challenges."
RHC ceo Brad Martin says in the announcement, "We believe with McClelland & Stewart fully within the Random House of Canada family we will more effectively be able to meet these challenges to ensure the growth and long-term stability of this iconic Canadian publisher." As to why Random House decided to take 100 percent ownership now, Martin added "the challenges in the marketplace crystallized the need for change."
The Globe & Mail reported that RHC "quietly approached the office of Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages James Moore to seek an exemption from long-established provisions of the Investment Canada Act, which specifically outlaw such takeovers." Moore let the takeover go ahead "on the basis of the commitments we made that demonstrated that this investment is likely to be of net benefit to Canada."
The University of Toronto added in a statement: "In our view, today's announcement is the best way to protect the future of M&S. Random House has supported M&S for the past decade and is committed to continuing their support for Canadian authors. Random House itself is also a significant publisher of Canadian authors."
M&S president and publisher Doug Pepper will continue to run the unit, reporting to Martin, and Pepper will join RHC's executive committee, and M&S evp and fiction publisher Ellen Seligman will continue in her role as well. M&S's children's imprint Tundra Books will serve as RHC's Canadian children's line, with Doubleday Canada maintaining its YA program.
RHC has pledged to maintain much of the McClelland & Stewart heritage, including the flagship imprint, the M&S Poetry program, the publication of The Journey Prize stories, ongoing support for the Writers Trust Journey Prize, and the New Canadian Library, Emblem Editions, and Signal imprints. Those promises notwithstanding, Association of Canadian Publishers Margie Wolfe has declared "we have lost one of our greatest homes for Canadian stories. It's a sad and scary day."