Time Warner Inc., the company that owns America Online, HBO, and Warner Bros. Entertainment, among other media and entertainment businesses, recently announced the sale of its book publishing division, Time Warner Book Group, to the French company Lagardère SCA for $537.5 million. The Time Warner Book Group is the fifth largest U.S. publisher, and its various imprints—including Little, Brown; Back Bay; and Bulfinch Press—publish books by authors such as Elizabeth Kostova, Alice Sebold, and David Sedaris.
Lagardère intends to honor all author contracts and relationships, and no immediate changes are expected for Time Warner Book Group’s eight hundred U.S. employees. While imprint names will be kept, the Time Warner name will eventually be changed.
Lagardère’s publishing division, Hachette Livre, currently includes British imprints Hodder Headline, Orion, and John Murray, among others. The acquisition of Time Warner Book Group will make it the third largest publisher in the world, after Bertelsmann (which owns Random House) and Pearson (which owns Penguin).