Quercus Publishing PLC, the publisher of the Stieg Larsson’s award-winning Millennium Trilogy, has formally put itself up for sale.
The announcement said, “Further to the Company’s interim trading statement, released on 17 January 2014, the Board of Quercus has decided that it would be in the best interests of the Company’s shareholders to seek potential offerors by means of a formal sale process. In accordance with Note 2 to Rule 2.6 of the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers (“Takeover Code”), the Board of Quercus therefore announces that it is conducting a formal sale process. The Board continues to have constructive dialogue with its bankers, Barclays.
In its interim statement, the company said, “the UK book trade has continued to be challenging. The bulk of our profits are usually generated in the final quarter of the year. However, sales in the final quarter were lower than expected, due in part to continuing issues within the book trade which led retailers to adopt very conservative ordering policies and a lower than expected upturn in digital sales over the Christmas period to the end of the year. As a result, the Directors expect the Company to make a significant trading loss for the financial year.“
Mark Smith told The Bookseller: “We’ve been considering for some months how best to take the business forward for the long term in light of the fundamental changes which are taking place in our core UK marketplace. We now feel that the skills and experience of Quercus’ team will flourish best within a larger organisation and so we’ve decided to put the company up for sale. In the meantime it’s business as usual at Baker Street.” The company said its board “continued to have constructive dialogue” with its bankers, Barclays.