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Octopus Publishing Group acquires Summersdale


Lagardère Publishing

Wednesday 1st November 2017

Alison Goff, CEO of Octopus Publishing Group, and Alastair Williams, Managing Director of Summersdale, are delighted to announce that, with immediate effect, Summersdale will join the Octopus Publishing Group. This follows the signing and completion of an agreement between the shareholders of Summersdale and Octopus Publishing Group on Tuesday 31st October, 2017.

The transaction has been structured as a purchase by Octopus of 100 per cent shareholding in the business, which remains intact as a company. Alastair Williams who continues in his role as Managing Director of Summersdale will, in addition, have a creative role across Hachette to invigorate gift publishing and wider market reach. Alastair and all 23 Summersdale staff will remain based in Chichester, West Sussex.

Founded in 1990 by Alastair Williams and Stewart Ferris, Summersdale has 3 times been shortlisted for Independent Trade Publisher of the Year, winning the award in 2014, and is widely recognized as the UK’s leading publisher of gift and humour titles. Summersdale reaches beyond the book trade and specialises in supplying lifestyle and fashion stores with lively, trend-led titles. Summersdale’s recent bestsellers include F in exams; Commando Dad and Little Book of Drinking Games.

Alastair Williams says: “After 27 years of independent publishing, I am delighted that the company has been acquired by Octopus, and extremely proud that Summersdale will sit alongside so many fine imprints.
“After a number of meetings with Alison I felt comfortable and excited that we had found the ideal home for our company and list. It was important for us to retain our independent, entrepreneurial spirit and distinct personality, and Octopus identified this. Likewise, we also saw the benefit of being part of much larger group to allow our lists to flourish and also to achieve greater scale and reach.”

Alison Goff says: “I have long-admired the energetic, creative publishing that Alastair and his team deliver. They’re quick to spot trends and, with characteristic high quality design and production values, bring books to market with incredible speed. It’s a winning formula which has convinced many retailers that books can be an important part of their product range and thus opening up whole new areas of the market. I am hugely excited by the opportunity to work with Alastair and grow the business further internationally”,

David Shelley, CEO Designate of Hachette says: “I am so excited about Summersdale joining Octopus. A dynamic, fast-growing company with an incredibly sophisticated understanding of consumer behaviour and changing trends, Summersdale is a true leader in its field. The team there delivers something genuinely different and appealing, as evidenced by their great success in the gift and humour markets. I am also delighted that Alastair Williams will have a wider creative role within Hachette – I think he and Summersdale will be a brilliant addition to Hachette UK.”



Caroline Brown, Publicity and Marketing Director, Octopus Publishing Group, 0203 122 6689.

Hachette UK is the second largest publishing group in the UK. The group consists of over 50 imprints within different publishing divisions: Hodder & Stoughton; Headline Publishing Group; John Murray Press; Quercus; Little, Brown Book Group; Orion Publishing Group; Bookouture; Octopus Publishing Group; Hachette Children's Group and Hodder Education publishing books in all formats for all ages and tastes. In 2016, Hachette UK acquired Neon Play, the mobile games studio.

The Octopus Publishing Group is the illustrated books division of Hachette UK. It has a heritage of working with talented authors and strong brands and is known for creating high-quality illustrated books with innovative design, vision and commercial appeal.

Summersdale is an award-winning, vibrant publisher that swiftly responds to emerging global trends to provide entertaining, informative and innovative content in the genres of gift and humour, travel writing, general non-fiction, and health and wellbeing.

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