Bonnier Acquires Book Publisher

WOLOGO.jpgMagazine publisher Bonnier Corp. has grown rapidly in the past year, thanks to several major acquisitions. The most recent, announced today, brings book publisher Weldon Owen Publishing into the Bonnier fold, giving the company its own book division.

Weldon Owen is most well-known for publishing illustrated non-fiction books, including cookbooks. This specialty will mesh well with Bonnier’s stable of titles, including Saveur, which has previously worked in partnership with the publisher. Weldon Owen also produces children’s titles and family/adult reference books, partnering on some of those titles with Bonnier’s Parenting magazine.

This deal marks Bonnier’s fifth acquisition in 15 months, as the three-year-old publishing company seeks to expand its reach. In October, the organization picked up independently published parenting title Conceive, which followed a big deal in June under which Bonnier acquired five Hachette Filipacchi enthusiast titles.

Full release after the jump

Previously: Bonnier Picks Up Parenting Title Conceive

Bonnier Corp. Expands Media Portfolio — Adds Book Publisher Weldon Owen

New York, N.Y. — Bonnier Corp. announced today it has added Weldon Owen Publishing to its growing media operations. Weldon Owen is a leading book publisher, creating products for premier specialty retailers including Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn. Bonnier will now have a book division as the U.S. company continues its rapid growth.

This deal is the fifth in the past 15 months for the three-year-old Bonnier Corp., but is its first major venture into book publishing after a string of magazine acquisitions. Last month, it purchased Conceive magazine. In June, Bonnier added five titles from Hachette Filipacchi: Popular Photography, Flying, Boating, Sound & Vision and American Photo. And in late 2008, the company bought Working Mother and Scuba Diving in two separate deals.

“We are pleased to be adding Weldon Owen to our media group,” says Terry Snow, CEO of Bonnier Corp. “Expect to see new creative synergies between our strength in special-interest magazine publishing and Weldon Owen’s reputation for producing high-quality books.”

The addition of Weldon Owen will allow new business and marketing opportunities by extending Bonnier’s marquee magazine brands and their content into successful book-publishing ventures. For its high-profile brands, Bonnier is considering bookazines, collectible yearbooks and more for sale on newsstands and online.

Weldon Owen CEO and President Terry Newell says, “Joining Bonnier Corp. allows us the access to a large media group that can use our services and relationships. It also allows us to expand our ongoing relationships with our brand partners, retailers and ultimately consumers.”

Over the past 25 years, Weldon Owen has built a solid reputation as a leading creator of illustrated nonfiction books, while becoming accomplished at creating and publishing branded books for major national brands and retailers. It creates and publishes more than 60 trade titles each year. The company currently has more than 500 backlist titles.

One specialty is its lauded cookbooks, which number more than 300 titles. Most have been produced for Williams-Sonoma through an 18-year alliance. Other partners include Kellogg’s, Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group and Bonnier’s own Saveur. Weldon Owen’s visual reference unit has produced both children’s titles and family/adult reference books and series. Partners for this include major retailers such as Pottery Barn, PB Kids, The Body Shop, 3M Post-it Notes, Hallmark, Gymboree and Bonnier’s Parenting magazine. Based in San Francisco, Weldon Owen was founded in 1986 and was formerly part of Bonnier Publishing in the UK.