Sunday, July 22, 2007

Houghton Mifflin Company to Acquire Harcourt Education and Harcourt Trade Divisions

Houghton Mifflin Company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Harcourt Education, Harcourt Trade and Greenwood-Heinemann divisions ("Harcourt") of Reed Elsevier.

The combination of Houghton Mifflin's and Harcourt's elementary, secondary and supplemental businesses creates a provider that will offer customers more choices in educational publishing. The new entity will be well-positioned to make the investments required to deliver to teachers and administrators a more comprehensive and flexible set of K–12 learning solutions than is available today. The addition of Harcourt Trade to Houghton Mifflin's rich library of literature and reference titles will create a preeminent publisher with one of the industry’s most distinguished lists of authors.

Houghton Mifflin will acquire the Harcourt businesses in a transaction valued at $4 billion, consisting of $3.7 billion in cash and $300 million in common stock of Houghton Mifflin Riverdeep Group PLC (Houghton Mifflin’s parent company). The combined business will be led by Tony Lucki, Chairman, President and CEO of Houghton Mifflin, and former CEO of Harcourt Education and Harcourt, Inc.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Warner Bros. Acquires Motion Picture Rights to Septimus Heap

Warner Bros. Pictures has acquired the feature film rights to the seven- book fantasy series, Septimus Heap. This bestselling series marks UK author Angie Sage's first foray into middle-grade fantasy.

Septimus Heap: Magyk, the first book in the series will be produced by Karen Rosenfelt (The Devil Wears Prada) with Sage as Executive Producer.

The series tells the story of two babies that are switched at birth: one, a boy who discovers his birthright as the seventh son of a seventh son, and ultimately, a powerful wizard; the other, a girl who is destined to become Princess. Their stories are set in a weird and wonderful fairy-tale England and their journeys of self-discovery are filled with hilarious characters and clever charms, potions and spells.

Published in March 2005 by HarperCollins Children's Books, Septimus Heap: Magyk was an international bestseller. It debuted at #3 on the New York Times Best Sellers List and moved to #1 in its second week on-sale. The subsequent books in the series, Septimus Heap: Flyte and Septimus Heap: Physik, were published in March 2006 and March 2007, respectively.

Angie Sage is represented by literary agent Eunice McMullen. Courtenay Valenti negotiated the deal on behalf of Warner Bros. Studios. Joan Rosen, Vice President, Director of Subsidiary Rights for HarperCollins Children's Books and their agent, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein of The Gotham Group negotiated the deal for HarperCollins Publishers. The Septimus Heap series is published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Children's Books.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Actress Valerie Bertinelli to Write Memoir

Free Press, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, Inc., will publish in April 2008 a new book by Valerie Bertinelli, the popular actress who starred in the long-running television sitcom "One Day At A Time" and is now known to a new generation of fans as a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig.

Martha K. Levin, Free Press's Executive Vice President and Publisher and Leslie Meredith, VP & Senior Editor acquired world rights, audio, and first serial for the book, which will be titled Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound At A Time, from literary agent Daniel A. Strone, CEO of the Trident Media Group.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Thriller Author Partners With Director Andrew Davis on Unique Screen/Publishing Project

In a unique twist on the film option process, Thomas Nelson has announced that their leading thriller author Robert Liparulo (COMES A HORSEMAN, GERM) is partnering with director Andrew Davis (THE GUARDIAN, THE FUGITIVE, HOLES) on a new thriller to be developed into both a movie and a novel. Mike Medavoy's Phoenix Pictures (ZODIAC, STEALTH, THE SIXTH DAY) has optioned the movie rights for the yet-to-be-titled project, which Thomas Nelson will publish.

Liparulo and Davis will co-write the screenplay, which Liparulo will solely pen into a novel. The plot centers on a military construction project in Illinois where evidence of the oldest known settlement in the Western Hemisphere is uncovered. Soon after, the lead archaeologist makes an even more startling discovery: the remains of a recent murder victim. Fearing that an investigation will jeopardize the archaeological treasures of the site, he and his team - accustomed to piecing together clues to solve mysteries - decide to investigate on their own. What they uncover is a conspiracy bigger than they could have ever possibly guessed, one that threatens thousands of lives and the U.S. government itself.

A former journalist, Robert Liparulo is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories, and the novels COMES A HORSEMAN and GERM. His short story "Kill Zone" is included in ITW's bestselling THRILLER anthology, edited by James Patterson. His third book, the high-action suspense thriller titled DEADFALL, will be published in November 2007 by Thomas Nelson.

Thomas Nelson is the world's sixth largest publisher, delivering entertaining, culturally relevant stories. From one of the world's largest publishers comes the imprint that is changing the face of fiction.