Penguin Random House South Africa, a division of Penguin Random House and the largest English language publisher in South Africa, has announced its purchase of LAPA Publishers, the country’s largest Afrikaans-language publisher, from the ATKV.
LAPA will become part of Penguin Random House South Africa, retaining its name and identity, leadership, publishing direction, and staff. The acquisition will enable Penguin Random House South Africa to increase its domestic market share and position and to strengthen the reach and diversity of its publishing programs and titles for readers nationwide.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction will be finalised by the end of February 2020 subject to the meeting of all conditions.
The acquisition agreement was announced by Steve Connolly, Chief Executive Officer, Penguin Random House SA, and Sonél Brits, managing director of the ATKV-MSW.
Penguin Random House SA and LAPA both publish original adult and children’s fiction and non-fiction in hardcover, paperback and digital editions. LAPA’s imprints will complement those of Penguin Random House SA. LAPA publishes just over 200 titles annually, and the combined company expects to release more than 350 print books a year.
Penguin Random House SA’s widely admired roster of bestselling and critically acclaimed local and international authors include Michelle Obama, Yuval Noah Harari, James Patterson, Roald Dahl, Malcolm Gladwell, Margaret Atwood, Jamie Oliver and Jojo Moyes, with Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Lauren Beukes, Fred Khumalo, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, Marguerite Poland, Max du Preez and Sally Andrew.
They will be joined by such admired and widely read LAPA authors as Marita van der Vyver, Sophia Kapp, Irma Joubert, Chanette Paul, Fanie Viljoen, Jaco Jacobs, Wendy Maartens, James-Brent Styan, Riana Scheepers and Armand Aucamp.
Steve Connolly says:
‘We are very excited to be working with the team at LAPA. They have terrific publishing programmes, an excellent growth record, and a strong presence in the Afrikaans children’s and fiction markets.
‘We have long been impressed by their talent, professionalism and ambition, and believe our two businesses will learn a lot from each other. I fully expect that we will see an exciting exchange of ideas and a passionate collective energy in the consolidated business, to drive forward the highest-quality publishing standards and growth mind-set that we all share.
‘The businesses will continue to maintain their current focus and will remain operating as they are, with the possibility of some systems harmonisation. The LAPA management team have shown an impressive and successful ability to grow and we intend to help them to grow even further.’
Sonél Brits, managing director of the ATKV-MSW, says the ATKV views the acquisition as an excellent opportunity to promote Afrikaans writers and their work:
‘It will significantly increase Afrikaans writers’ footprint and will afford them international exposure and opportunity. We trust that LAPA Publishers will only go from strength to strength in the impressive stable of Penguin Random House South Africa.’
Sylvia de Wet, CEO of LAPA commented:
‘This development holds huge promise for LAPA and our authors. We are delighted to join Penguin Random House South Africa and to become part of their parent company, the international book-publishing standard-bearer. Through Penguin Random House we will gain access to valuable platforms and resources, while retaining our corporate name and identity as the biggest Afrikaans publisher and market leader.
‘LAPA’s business core remains intact and we’ll continue to preserve and protect our integrity while integrating with a publishing brand whose cultural pre-eminence, commercial success, and support for its authors are known and respected across the world. We are looking forward to an extremely promising future together!’
Penguin Random House SA has been trade publisher of the year in 2016, 2017 and 2019 and has been awarded the Sunday Times annual fiction prize for the past six years.
Penguin Random House is the world’s largest trade book publisher, with market-leading English-language companies in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India. In addition to its Spanish-language publishing with its Penguin Random House Group Editorial divisions in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and Chile, Penguin Random House publishes works in German and Portuguese through its Verlagsgruppe Random House and Companhia da Letras sister companies in Germany and Brazil respectively; Catalan in Spain; Hindi in India; and Afrikaans in South Africa.